Family Offices and Their Advisors Are Preparing for Tomorrow!
I have had the pleasure of working closely with the leaders of many family offices and can say without a doubt that many of them are among the most enlightened and forward thinking people I’ve ever known. They, and their financial, operations and investment advisors, have continuously surprised me with the depth of their planning, their willingness to learn new approaches, adopt original ideas and put them into practice. Their ability to see into the future, and then take steps to help shape that future, have inspired me. I think about some of their innovative advances including the adoption of complex asset management strategies that have now become a regular part of their own investment portfolios; I think about how some families have taken the private equity model of direct investing and made it part of their own standard procedures. I’ve seen family offices become true pioneers in the use of outsourcing, thus freeing up valuable resources that are better used to advance the family’s mission. I’ve also seen families take the lead in embracing new technologies that are making them safer, more efficient, better communicators – in fact, making them smarter.
I believe this family office drive toward getting ahead of the curve was what inspired me to entitle our 2017 Private Wealth and Family Office Summit “Preparing for Tomorrow.” The Summit, which takes place November 2 at the Museum of Jewish Heritage in New York City, has for nine years been a gathering place for family office leaders to meet and discuss candidly what was keeping them awake at night and moreover, what steps they were taking to mitigate risk, preserve and protect wealth and plan for growth. A recurring theme that arose from these discussion was that the most successful families were adept at turning risk into opportunity and that preparation and planning were often the most important elements to their success.
Looking at the program for this year’s Summit, with its theme of preparedness, I note that our speakers and Summit advisors have once again taken on the mantle of leadership in putting forward real actionable ideas and processes designed to help families prepare for tomorrow. Consider that the Summit will explore such issues as business succession in light of the evidence that some 25 million privately owned businesses in the U.S. will be confronting transition decisions within the next five years. Consider that the Summit will also take on Next Generation Philanthropy – an issue that demands to have a fresh look, given the fact that so many families and closely held firms will have new leadership and thus have new ideas about philanthropy, in just a few short years. Consider that the sci-fi sounding term Artificial Intelligence is now part of everyday business decision-making and that families are in the forefront of this AI revolution – an issue the Summit will illuminate. All of these concepts – succession, conflict, philanthropy, AI – have real, everyday business applications but they are, at the same time, all issues that future generations of families will be wrestling with. The preparation family leaders are exhibiting today will pay enormous, unquantifiable benefits for tomorrow.