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Family Office Advice - The Critical Friend

Part of my engagements with Family Offices is to be what I describe as "a critical friend". This definition on Wikipedia provides clarity on why I try so hard to achieve this:

"A critical friend can be defined as a trusted person who asks provocative questions, provides data to be examined through another lens, and offers critiques of a person's work as a friend. A critical friend takes the time to fully understand the context of the work presented and the outcomes that the person or group is working toward. The friend is an advocate for the success of that work."

Advisers that I see succeeding seem to act as an advocate first and foremost. A difficult task in financial services because revenue is attached to so many decisions.

There's a successful advice model that assists with functions that have little or no obvious revenue. Instead, they seek to assisting the family offices with pain points and find a voice when they believe the family needs to hear potentially uncomfortable opinions.

Elements such as :

1) Portfolio Aggregation - not just the assets held in their custody

2) Analytics - across the whole portfolio, with independence benchmarks that are relevant to the client first, not the manager.

3) Family dynamics - a hard skill to monetise but one of the most important services

4) Supplier delegation and due diligence - the ability to know when to allocate to a supplier that may compete with your own business, can take away from legacy firms, or dilute your interactions because its good for the client. Curating these partners and services often strengthens the trust adviser relationship.

The more I see of family office advice, the longer and more diversified the list of suppliers that we know and trust becomes. However, if you wrote them all down they would have one thing in common - to have the same "Sherpa" mindset. Act as a guide, be a critical friend, always an advocate.



“Hall Road Investments Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative (CAR No. 001279456) of Non Correlated Capital Pty Ltd (AFSL No. 499882). Shaun Parkin is an Authorised Representative (AR No 001279458) of Hall Road Investments Pty Ltd (CAR No. 001279456) and is authorised to provide general advice to wholesale investors”

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