Creative thinking and greater efficiency can counter some of the challenges facing family offices during the crisis according to a leading family office lawyer.
"One of the most important things family offices must do is think creatively," Anthony Markham, partner at law firm Maitland's Isle of Man office, told www.campdenFB.com on his return to the offshore jurisdiction last week.
Markham has gone back to the island following a decade in London and will be spearheading the family office service following an increased demand from wealthy families. He explained some of the unique challenges currently facing family offices. "Family offices are doing a very difficult trick, they are trying to anticipate the needs of their families while also trying to keep abreast with the challenging environment with lots of difficult changes," Markham said.
He also points to a lack of cash as a particular difficulty during the economic crisis. "Family offices have either seen their investment portfolios marked down with everybody else's or they have seen their family businesses becoming cash hungry when usually they are cash generative. In that environment they are becoming very cost sensitive and doing things more efficiently. It tends to be more what do we need to do as opposed what would it be nice to do," Markham explained.
He suggests the best way for family offices to improve their service and counter their problems is to think creatively. "What the family office has to do now is they have to react very creatively in that environment to achieve what they need to achieve without incurring increased costs, just at the moment.