How can a single family office serve multiple families? Better yet, how does such a firm land in the Number 8 spot on a list of 100 top wealth managers? Pathstone Family Office LLC has created one formula and it involves integrating internally multiple disciplines to offer a robust offering for families’ unique needs.
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Each family’s needs are different and Pathstone serves 34 of them. Family clients average net worth is $100 million or more. Tax, insurance, financial reporting, philanthropy, and accounting are services the office provides within a customized family office structure for each family client.
This structure enables the firm to classify itself as a single family office for multiple families. By hiring staff in house to provide the integrated services a family would need if it set up its own single family office, then offering those services across the board to individual families in a customized fashion, the firm has built economies of scale most often sought by multi-family offices.
A mutli-family office offers a slate of services to its family clients in a fairly standardized fashion. Economies of scale seem diametrically opposed to offering customized services to meet each family’s unique needs.
But a structure where an internal staff simply serves multiple families is not unlike the original single family office structure serving multiple branches of a single family. The primary difference is that the families in Pathstone’s clientele are not related to each other.
The Pathstone model also does not dilute the quality of service experienced by most multi-family offices. Pathstone has the advantage of being a new firm—only 2 ½ years old—and having the flexibility to take advantage of the most up-to-date technology.
Client meetings use iPads instead of reams of paper reports that become out of date as soon as they are printed. Pathstone is also employee owned. There is also opportunity for employees to become equity owners with the founders.
The firm has created a culture of serving its clients from a fully integrated as well as a multi-generational perspective while mentoring and giving incentive to its employees to have a stake in the business. It’s a win-win for all involved
You may not have clients with an average net worth of $100 million each. That doesn't mean you can't use technology to offer more fully integrated and individually customized service to your clients. If you build it, higher net worth clients may come.