Family Office Staffing
There is an increase in family office setting up globally and it’s worth digging into how they recruit for investment and operations teams. All the news headlines highlight very large family offices attracting high profile investment professional and executives to manage these offices. But there is a significant number of family offices below the radar seeking similarly qualified professionals.
In my experience, some popular sources are:
A trusted executive from the operating business who moves over with the liquidity event
An investment professional referred in by trusted adviser or experience with the family
For CEO/COO roles, often it’s the professional services partner (PWC, KPMG, Deloitte, EY etc) that serviced them
Referrals – a big one that is hard to track. Hall Road’s Sherpa newsletter is often used as a quasi-recruitment agent and connecting tool for those seeking staff.
Those involved in a previous transaction or assisted with the liquidity event
Asset class specialists from current managers - for those families looking to produce an inhouse asset manager model
Ex consultants – those that have worked with the family previously as a contractor and have proved to work well and fit the culture and personalities
Corporate executives that the family had contact with via the operational business.
Recruitment – there is a growing number of specialist recruitment agencies for family offices.
Attracting talent to your family office is becoming less challenging as the concept becomes more well-known and the number of options broaden. However, there is still concerns from both sides – will it be a good fit and if it’s not what is the potential risks that I’m taking on.
Of course, the alternative is to keep it to just the family members and outsource those aspects that are not within their skill set or interest. Most are looking for a middle ground that is tough to find. The added complexity of managing staff, compliance etc can also make outsourcing attractive.
This recent Denton’s report includes insights into the focus for family offices in 2023, one of which was staffing: “Adding talented new staff, upskilling existing staff and investing in new technologies are among the most frequently mentioned planned changes for 2023 by family offices.”
For executives considering a move into family offices should also be aware of the unique decision-making structure. From the same Dentons report, this image provides an illustration of how these offices are run.
This article from Family Office recruitment firm Agreus predicts that staffing will start to look more like the traditional corporate structure – “rather than pushing out attractive job advertisements filled with false promises to attract talent quickly, Family Offices will devise professional compensation structures that incentive excellence and ensure longevity in their new hires. This will see the likes of carried interest, co-investment opportunities and long-term performance bonuses rise in popularity and for the first time, they will not just be offered to C-suite Family Office professionals but instead, anyone deemed critical.”
Positives and Negatives
For family offices, there is a need to understand the market rates for these professionals. Along with compensation and incentives that need to be aligned, there is also the added career risk of removing themselves from a larger corporate ladder they have thus far been successful in climbing.
The potential benefits of working with a family office shouldn’t be discounted either – gaining unique access to a wide range of deals and opportunities and if you’re lucky the ability to work at the very pointy end of finance that not everyone gets exposure to.
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