The Most Important Hire in a Family Office: The Family Office Advisor

Everett Alexander
September 15, 2023

In the realm of wealth management, family offices play a vital role in assisting affluent individuals and families in preserving, growing, and transferring their wealth across generations. While it might not be obvious, the most important hire in a family office is not the CEO, CIO, or COO of the family office—it’s the family office advisor because of their diverse responsibilities within and expertise of the family office; their ability to navigate complex family dynamics; and their skill in aligning the family’s goals with those of the family office. 

Embracing Multifaceted Responsibilities

The role of a family office advisor encompasses a broad range of responsibilities that go beyond traditional financial advising. A competent advisor is well-versed in areas ranging from investment management to family governance to philanthropic strategies to risk management. By integrating these areas, the advisor provides comprehensive guidance tailored to the specific needs and goals of the family office. 

Navigating Complex Family Dynamics

Family dynamics can be intricate and sensitive, particularly when it comes to managing substantial wealth. The family office advisor serves as a trusted guide who navigates the complexities of family relationships and provides objective advice. They act as a mediator, facilitating open and constructive communication among family members, fostering harmony, and preventing potential conflicts that could jeopardize the family’s wealth and unity.  

A skilled family office advisor recognizes and respects the unique values, goals, and aspirations of each family member. They understand that effective wealth management goes beyond financial considerations and encompasses the holistic well-being of the family. By developing a deep understanding of the family dynamics, the advisor helps establish a shared family vision and core values that guide the decision-making process.  

The advisor assists in establishing family governance structures, such as family councils or committees, to facilitate transparent decision-making, dispute resolution, and the formulation of policies and procedures. These structures ensure that family members have a voice in the family office’s operations and allow for the orderly transition of responsibilities. By considering the diverse needs and expectations of family members, the advisor ensures the long-term sustainability and growth of the family’s wealth across generations.  

Goal Alignment and Succession Planning

Aligning the goals of the family with the family office is pivotal for achieving sustainable success. The advisor becomes intimately familiar with the family’s values, aspirations, and long-term objectives. They work closely with the family office leadership to develop and implement a strategic roadmap that encompasses investment strategies, wealth transfer plans and philanthropic endeavors. 

Collaborating with the family office leadership, the advisor translates the family’s objectives into actionable plans. They continuously monitor and review progress, making adjustments when necessary to keep the family’s wealth management strategy aligned with evolving circumstances and goals.  

Succession planning is another vital aspect of the advisor’s role. As wealthy families transition from one generation to the next, a competent advisor helps facilitate a smooth transfer of responsibilities and knowledge. By mentoring the rising generation and preparing them for their roles within the family office, the advisor ensures continuity and the preservation of the family’s legacy. 

Choosing the right family office advisor is a strategic decision that has far-reaching implications for the family’s legacy and future generations.  

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About Everett Alexander

Everett brings a wealth of experience and expertise to Wingspan, having previously served as a trusted advisor to family offices in roles such as CIO and COO.