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Hall Road Investments #100 – Family Office Sherpa

The Sherpa newsletter turns 100!

I looked back on the very first one sent, it was to 16 people that I wanted to stay in contact with post State Street and who may find some of the Family Office work interesting. A special call out to Stephen Hanson from Spartan Capital and Peter Mitchell from Kings Gate Capital who were both very early vocal supporters.

As of this latest newsletter, there’s just a tad under 1000 subscribers (equal amounts family offices, advisers, and asset managers), I add around 10% per month. The open rate (as much as I can track these days) consistently hits 50% and people continue to send it on to those that may find it valuable.

April Fools – I don’t usually go for April fool’s jokes, but this one from German Index provider Solactive was very good.

Family Members as Advisers - Sometimes happiness comes from helping others and family offices have some unique challenges that only other family offices can truly relate. Recent conversations have shown that there are major benefits for those willing to share their experience and knowledge.

UBS Wealth vs Credit Suisse Private Bank – with UBS taking over CS, they are returning to the Australian wealth market after 8 years. This time it’s a model more in keeping with their brand. I’ve written a short article on where I see the benefits of this model for family offices.

Family Office Interview - A great interview from Frazer Rice with Edward Marshall - an actual expert in the space. Ed gets through a lot of concepts in a tight 30 minutes including: The concept of FO,

Information needed to start, overplanning vs under-planning, the checklist fallacy and the sometimes inelegant best design.

Consistently Boring Hedge Funds – the older I get the more I value consistency in suppliers and counterparties. And this includes hedge funds. Luckily, it is this area of the market that has performed better in recent times as the “multi strat” earns its stripes as a diversifier from star traders and single position blow ups.

Buffer ETFs – Downside protection has always been easy to want and hard to find. The strategies I have seen (Targeted Volatility Triggers, Dynamic Asset Allocation and options strategies) all have their good and bad days. I view the new raft of “buffer” ETFs in the US with the usual caution.

NFP Investments Committee For anyone looking to sit on an investment committee established to assist with managing a large first nation’s future fund, this may be of interest.

Family Office’s with Cash – a market that throws up potential opportunities to those with cash and long-term investment horizons. The Family Office/Charity Vehicle of Jan Cameron (Kathmandu) as well as VBS are part of a consortium of note holders picking up a fallen brewery. Something tells me these may be interesting times for good assets that need white knights. In that theme, this article provides some colour on family offices “leaning in” to the Small Market Buyout sector of PE.

Bloomberg GPT – if you think it’s a marketing gimmick, you’d be wrong. Bloomberg’s new AI platform has the potential to be the only portfolio management tool you’ll need. The firm itself is uniquely placed to train AI as they have one of the most exclusive and deep data sets in finance – their terminals.

As someone says in the article: “BloombergGPT is going to replace the Analyst Analysts are fundamentally chat-based interfaces that senior finance folks use to gather, organize, and output data Finance workflows are already very iterative and GPT doesn’t care about protected Saturdays.”

Direct Indexing – For long time readers, you know I follow this space closely and if you look at recent moves from major ETF issuer and asset managers in the US (Blackrock, Vanguard, Morgan Stanley etc) - all have acquired a direct indexing business. This new article includes opinions from an ETF pioneer, and I just hope the market develops.

Family Office VC - The difference between family office VC investing and the likes of Tiger Global provides a good starting point for this sector review from David Struthers, PhD at Simple. "Most family offices choose to allocate their resources differently than these super-funds, which brings us a discussion about what family offices bring to the VC table, what function VC investments have in a family office portfolio, and what paths family offices take to achieve their desired exposure to the asset class."

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