Media pundits and trend predictors have turned their sharp focus on the family office of late. It's as if they've stumbled across an undiscovered country or a new form of intelligent life. And for many, that's exactly what the family office appears to be. Something hitherto unknown. As a result, much of the reporting and commentary can seem light at best. At worst, it completely misses the point.
Here at Campden, the family office has been central to our business and personal lives for many years. Our family office conferences have been running for a decade and our links with managers, staff and family members are fundamental to what we do.
From reading the FT or the Journal, Les Echos or Handelsblatt, the investment community might be forgiven for thinking that the family office is a relatively new entity. The reportage speaks of FOs in the vaguest of terms, likening them to private banks or institutional investors or even sovereign wealth funds in terms of size and temperament.
Well for some FOs these comparisons may ring true. For others there may be nothing further from the truth. Apart from the basic imperative of continuing the family fortune from generation to generation, there is often very little to compare between one family office and another. There are as many models as there are family offices, one friend of mine responded when we discussed the issue in Boston last month.
But variation does not preclude commonality at the very base level. Many of the issues that family offices face are essentially the same – generational planning, asset allocation, recruitment, educating the next generation. We've found at our family office conferences that there is a wealth of knowledge that can be shared without sacrificing the need for confidentiality and privacy of one's family. And it is for this very reason that we decided to launch Campden FO as a genuinely family office-focused publication.
This is a publication specifically for those people working in a family office environment and close advisors. The issues we cover relate to serving your family and running your operations as effectively as possible. Our writers include experienced international journalists, hand-picked because of their keen understanding of the family office. Our columnists and guest editors are family office executives and managers of the highest calibre, speaking candidly about the issues affecting you.
For this launch issue of Campden FO we've gone inside the family office of one of the most prestigious and oldest families in Europe. The Grosvenors have kindly opened their doors to us and one of their newest employees takes us on a tour of the estates, providing us insight into the challenges of serving the dynasty.
In Podium – our section dedicated to the views and opinions of family office professionals – Mark Haynes Daniell builds a compelling case for the family office being a repository of family values. Leveraging his 20 years working for wealthy families and setting up the Cuscaden Group family office, Mark believes building the correct foundation of values in the younger generations is the best response to the risks of financial ruin, family discord, and erosion of the family business.
In Black Book, Geneva-based family office director Constantin Salameh raises the call for FO managers to improve their leadership qualities. By constructing a family office leadership model, Constantin shows how to develop the skills needed to focus the family office on critical family issues.
This issue in Red Letter and Back Office, we review the latest fund administration and outsourcing strategies for family offices and close advisors, as well as ask the experts for insider tips into moving trusts from country to country or state to state.
In Class – our section devoted to your family's assets – we've asked some of the top writers in their fields to give us the lowdown on managing asset classes as wide ranging as watch collections, art and real estate. What do you need to know to serve your family better? Find out each issue here in Campden FO.
Finally, flip through the pages of Patron to get an idea of the wide range of options available for the philanthropists in your family. This issue we delve into the world of classical music patronage in the Big Apple. From ballet to the opera, to the NYC's world renowned philharmonic orchestra. See what's available for budding patrons.
Welcome to this first issue of Campden FO.