Gilligan Sheppard has many value added services as well as our Business Advisory and Compliance.
One of the services I look after is Family Office. We have a ‘What is a family office’ page on our website where it details what Family Office means to us. I won’t recreate that, I will just let you know what I do in this space for our clients.
The most important thing with family office is TRUST. We need to have the trust of our clients to be able to work effectively for them. This can be done with relationship building over time and also ensuring that we have the correct points of contact and decision making processes and procedures setup. Before we start any family office engagement we detail what it is the client wants us to do. Do they have a problem that needs a solution? Who do they want us to engage with? Once we have these parameters we can easily work within them as well as taking a common sense approach into the engagement to always ensure the best outcome for our family office clients. After all, we are here to make things easier for them.
Some of the more practical aspects of this service is to setup authorities at the banks to look after day to day operations, build relationships with suppliers and family, and have ourselves as the point of contact. This means our client doesn’t need to worry about all of the compliance issues, payments, approvals, transfers and it also helps the banks and/or suppliers get the details they need without having to wait for a client to respond. Travel and vehicle management as well as scheduling project payments has been a part of our engagements so far. Processes and procedures should be documented to protect both the family office and those working within it. I have needed to make decisions for families and need to feel confident doing so. It is definitely a trusted relationship.
One of our recent cases in family office was with a client who had fallen seriously ill. We were already setup as executors of the will and were informed immediately something was wrong. We visited the hospital to check on our client and their care, then over a few months, once it was determined that returning to a living alone situation was no longer possible, we visited rest homes with hospital care to select the most suitable. We wanted to ensure the rest home was one that we felt our client would be happy in and looked after. We then arranged clearing of her home, selling of vehicles and furniture, organising real estate agents and helped our client to understand what documents she was signing right down to the sale and purchase of the property. All of this was done with care, consideration, and at all times, in consultation with our client.
All of our family office clients have monthly meetings to go through cash flow, accounts, any issues that may arise or could be coming up. You really do become part of the family. It is more than a family office service.
If you are interested in this service, please contact the author Debra Houghton.