Summer 2009 will have come as a blessed relief to some family offices. A chance to get away from the negative headlines about the economy, worries about wealth management and tribulations about who to trust going forward. Others will have spent valuable sunlounger hours plotting ways to ensure such times are not repeated or at least mitigated and guarded against.
With the Q4 now upon us and more positive signs about the world economy, Campden FO is ready to accentuate the positives. We have spoken to family offices of all shapes and sizes from all over the world with one goal in mind: to find out the answer to the question "what opportunities do you see at the present time?" The responses were looked at and the results are to be found over the following pages.
We start with two issues that are crucial to any family office – recruitment and cost cutting. The economic downturn has seen a large number of talented investment managers lose their jobs. James Moore looks at whether this is a golden opportunity for family offices to lock in such talent or whether, as one family office executive put it, "the best people are staying in the environment they are already in."
According to one contributor to our feature on the opportunities for cost cutting: "Most family offices are looking at costs, even whether the whole operation is viable in its current form." Investment, fiduciary or concierge services are all staring at a slimmed down future and Selwyn Parker analyses what the options are.
Former Mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani graced Campden FO with an interview about how he is intending to bring a dose of FBI-style due diligence to the wealth management sphere. Read his thoughts on how he thinks family offices should protect themselves from future Bernie Madoffs.
September saw the launch of the Institute for Wealth Management Standards, an initiative designed to develop and promote measurable, objective standards to foster responsible wealth management and to protect private wealth holders worldwide.
With families taking more of an interest in what is happening to their wealth, communication between the family/families and the family office is of crucial importance.
Drilling down further into investment opportunities, we look into secondary private equity, distressed real estate and the silver screen to ascertain where value can be found in our Class section.
If you don't believe opportunity exists in asset classes, perhaps you will find it in the female gender.
Another leading lady is Carol Newell, a social philanthropist of renown and the star of our patron section this issue. "I would urge like-minded individuals and organisations to put their resources to work to capitalise on the immense potential our money can have on our communities and society as a whole," says Newell in our profile about her life.
Newell's vision is shared by Mike Dickson who argues that a focus on philanthropy should not be a victim of any cost cutting. In fact, for those families that have lost significant wealth, having a philanthropic mission can help.
Whatever your view of the world and the family office landscape, opportunities do exist in a myriad of guises. Go out, find and embrace them and if you're minded, come and tell us how you've got on.
Enjoy the issue.