Working with Family Offices: 7 Things to Consider

Green flags to look for and consider before working with a family office.

Working with Family Offices: 7 Things to Consider


Working with a family office can be a highly rewarding and profitable experience, but not all family offices are created equal. 


Before taking the leap, it’s important to know the criteria that make a good family office.


Let’s explore some key things to look for when considering a partnership with a family office. 


🟩 Size of the Team

Size matters… but small isn’t always a bad thing. 


The average family office has a team of 14 employees, and anything below that threshold can come with challenges.

However, a small team does open the door for unique opportunities.

A small family office may have ambitious plans to scale its operations, providing a chance to be an integral part of their journey and help them achieve their goals.


Smaller teams will often need higher levels of support.

By offering personalized support and developing a highly engaged client strategy, you can really set yourself apart in a close-knit industry.

🔑 Build strong relationships, go above and beyond in client support, and gain a deeper understanding of their unique needs to deliver tailored solutions that make a real impact. 

🟩 Investment Mandate Limitations

Some family offices can have severely restricted investment mandates, but a clearly defined investment mandate can be a blessing!

Many family offices have a strong vision, investing in areas they know and love.

This focused approach can lead to expertise and success in specific industries or asset classes.

By understanding the family office’s investment priorities, you can offer tailored services that align with their goals.

🔑 Study up on their investment priorities and deliver bespoke solutions that help them achieve their unique objectives.

  • Narrow focused mandate: demands specialized knowledge and a tailored approach

  • Diversified mandate: requires a broader range of services and strategic guidance

🟩 Family Dynamics

Family is everything.

Working with a family office can be a rewarding experience, if you can fit in and leverage the strength of family bonds.

Many families excel at collaboration, trust, and support, creating a positive and productive work environment.

Knowing the family’s roles, influences, and dynamics can help you navigate how to share information, make suggestions, and handle sensitive issues.

🔑 Build strong relationships by recognizing and adapting to each family member’s unique needs and perspectives.

  • Develop personalized communication strategies that foster open dialogue and trust.

  • Maintain clear professional boundaries to ensure a productive and respectful collaboration.

🟩 Compensation / Payment Structures


Some family offices have big pockets and some are more mindful of their budget.

Don’t shy away from families who value financial responsibility.

This typically translates to a more logical and structured approach, with clear processes and systems in place.

To win them over, be ready to effectively communicate the value you bring to the table.

🔑 Offer flexible payment structures to attract and retain clients you’re eager to work with that have tighter budgets.

By understanding and adapting to their financial needs, you’ll build trust and foster a strong, long-term relationship


🟩 Structural Organization


While some family offices operate as a well-oiled machine, some may lack structure and processes and are looking for some help.

Family offices without systems in place need your expert guidance.

You can help them enhance their efficiency and productivity, creating a rewarding and professional experience.

🔑 By understanding the family’s goals and their readiness for change, you can offer tailored solutions that bring structure to their operations.

Identify areas where you can make a positive impact and provide customizable services that help them get back on track.

🟩 Work-Life Balance


Some family offices might see you as part of the family and treat you as so.

This can be a great opportunity to build a strong and lasting relationship, but it may come with calls outside of work hours and demands that require working overtime.

Look for family offices that respect your boundaries and embrace a healthy work-life balance.

🔑 Consider offering premium services for outside-of-hours support, ensuring seamless communication and dedication to their success.


🟩 Openness to Innovation


The most successful family offices adapt and evolve with the times, embracing change and innovation.

Knowing the types of investments a family office makes can serve as a strong indicator of their level of innovation and commitment to staying current with the times.

However, some families may cling to traditional approaches due to past success or the influence of a single resistant family member.

🔑 To effectively serve these families, you must be flexible and willing to work within their comfort zones, even if it means adapting to their preferred pace of change.

This may also require innovative thinking to accommodate families who want to make rapid and frequent changes.

🟩 Working with Family Offices

Working with family offices can be incredibly rewarding, and as the sector expands, opportunities will as well!

Family offices are unique and come in various shapes and sizes, often with complex dynamics. However, this shouldn’t deter you from exploring potential partnerships.

The key is to do your due diligence, conduct thorough research, and recognize that drawbacks can sometimes present opportunities for growth and innovation.