The private world of the very, very rich, Part 4: The multi-family office

I know of only two organizations that are truly “multi-family offices”: organizations that follow the same lineage as the single family-office model. (If you don’t know what a family office is, read Part 3 of this series.) This blog post continues The Inheritance Project series of organizations that serve the financial (and other) needs of Ultra High Net Worth (UNHW) families.

The Family Office Exchange, or FOX, is the original multi-family office. FOX is a second layer of the original single family-office concept: it is a membership organization for family offices, with over 500 members. Founded in 1989, FOX has offices in Chicago and London. This is how FOX describes its purpose and role: “For 20 years, FOX has provided hundreds of family offices with research, education, networking and advisory services. By leveraging FOX’s member benefits, family office executives and their family members benefit from access to office best practices, direct exposure to other family offices member experiences and solutions, and engagement with industry-leading experts.”

Some perks of membership include: annual forums, senior executive roundtables, member-based roundtables, advisor online forums, and an online advisor directory.

Unlike FOX, GenSpring serves families, not family offices. In this sense, it is the truest multi-family office. Based in Palm Beach Gardens, was founded the same year as FOX—1989. It has a very different and more dynamic flavor, as this statement from its web site reveals:
“[GenSpring founders,] Hap and Ellen Perry, along with a handful of legacy families, founded GenSpring in 1989 as a multifamily office to provide wealth management advice to wealthy families across all aspects of their wealth. They were driven in no small part to create GenSpring by their intense dissatisfaction with traditional wealth management providers: private banks, financial services firms, trust companies, etc. Though great advisors existed within those institutions, the institutions themselves had grown into a hub for the distribution of financial and investment products sold under the guise of advice. …
GenSpring does not earn any incremental revenue as a result of the advice we give or the solutions we utilize. GenSpring’s growth translates into more choices, market power and resources for our client families because we use our size only for their benefit. GenSpring has been built with a purpose—to be aligned with families and serve their individual needs and objectives.”
Currently, GenSpring operates 19 offices in the United States and several more offices internationally.
Please return in about a week to read the next in this series: Networking Groups.