The Evolution of the Family Office

– by Murray Sawyer, JD, President and CEO

“Wealth is the ability to fully experience life.”
Henry David Thoreau

It’s no secret that “family” is a big part of the Westover experience. It’s not only that Chip is literally family and Matt nearly so, but that we see our clients as extensions of the word. To that end I wanted to apprise you of our Westover Family Office. It’s alive and well, up and running as we speak. So what, exactly, you ask is a Family Office?

Westover Capital Advisors - John D. Rockefeller

John D. Rockefeller, 1911

Pioneered by the Rockefeller family in the 19th century, the traditional family office was created to manage and preserve generational wealth. This included handling everything from investment management and accounting services to booking travel and hiring staff. Once thought to be the limited domain of the ultra-wealthy, the family office has evolved and now is more than a little commonplace to high net worth families not named Rockefeller, as the needs of modern families have become more complex.

In 2014, New York Times “Wealth Matters” columnist, Paul Sullivan, wrote that the average asset value needed to justify the services of a family office was between $100 million and $1 billion. Today, with the advances in technology and the efficiencies they created, these services are attainable for a wider, yet still exclusive, market. You no longer need to own a private jet to enjoy the benefits of a family office.

Family offices are as unique as the people they represent, and no two are exactly alike. Here we believe that family office solutions should fit your needs instead of trying to fit your needs into pre-packaged bank-like family office “solutions”.

It’s no secret that “family” is a big part of the Westover experience. It’s not only that Chip is literally family and Matt nearly so, but that we see our clients as extensions of the word.

Just in case you didn’t know, Westover makes available a comprehensive set of family office services designed to give our clients the peace of mind they need to pursue their passions, support philanthropic causes, and protect their legacy through the responsible stewardship and the generational transfer of wealth.

Investment Strategy and Implementation

This service includes investment policy and asset allocation plan development, investment manager advice and in-house portfolio management. We also provide custodial, core asset class, and alternative asset class oversight so you can rest assured that your assets are working together for your benefit, regardless of whether Westover is actively managing them or simply advising on them. We offer single, consolidated statements and balance sheet review for assets wherever custodied and managed.

Liability Management

No one wants to put years of hard work, dedication, and the careful management of their family’s wealth at risk. Whether it’s analyzing your current property and life insurance or performing inventory and appraisal services, Westover will help ensure that your family’s assets are protected so they can be used specifically in the way you want.

Wealth Transfer Planning

One of the most important benefits of utilizing a family office is the full-scale ability to plan for the transfer of wealth. Westover will help you develop and define your objectives as well as examine a multi-generational snapshot of your existing strategies. We will evaluate any legal and tax strategies under consideration and perform financial modeling of alternative strategies. As a true partner with your family, we create an action plan to implement changes and thoroughly explain the plan to educate all owners and stakeholders.

Family Philanthropy

Giving back to others and caring for those who are less fortunate are the cornerstones of estate planning for many families. To maximize contributions to causes that are most important to you, Westover helps determine multi-generational objectives, set up personal giving programs, manage private foundations, and provide training for foundation trustees. We also assist with the often difficult tasks of governance and board development as well as foundation and grant administration.

Lifestyle Enhancements

Busy schedules can easily be consumed by the responsibilities that accompany day-to-day household operation. To simplify your life and the lives of your loved ones, Westover will provide important ancillary services such as personal bill paying, procurement of domestic help, payroll, property management, and family-specific travel management.

One Stop; One Shop

Other family office services offered by Westover include the full integration of your financial strategies, client information management with monthly, quarterly, and annual reporting, trusteeship services, and client family meeting education.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the hundreds of moving parts that comprise your financial and personal life, or if you think you might benefit from assistance in one or more of the areas above, give us a call for a detailed analysis and consultation. We’re here to help!

Keep the Faith