Tell Citywealth’s readers about your role.
As a Director in our Family Office team, I look after a number of our UK-based and international UHNW clients, advising them across the whole spectrum of their affairs, focusing on both the non-financial as well as the financial elements of their wealth.
I wear ‘two hats’ at Stonehage Fleming. As a Client Relationship Manager, I am an outsourced ‘co-pilot’ for the families and single family offices that we support. This involves managing and proactively reviewing families' affairs on an ongoing basis, coordinating between their other advisers so that they have the time to focus on their priorities. I am also part of our dedicated Family Governance and Succession team. In this role, I support families through a process of articulating the purpose of their wealth as a starting point for a sustainable, intergenerational governance framework. This involves the identification of both real and perceived risks to a family and their wealth and, crucially, the engagement of the next generation.
Talk us through one of your most recent client cases.
I am currently working with a family who will in due course benefit from a liquidity event. They would like to dedicate time to developing a strategy for their wealth and consider in advance how best to engage the next generation. By giving all family members the opportunity to discuss their goals, ambitions, and concerns, we have helped the family develop a framework for decision making, now and for the future.
One of the key takeaways from the process was to outline how best we could support the matriarch and patriarch by reducing the amount of time they spent on managing and organising their wealth and their assets, so that they could focus on their passion projects (including their family’s philanthropic strategy). We are now providing day-to-day family office services for them as well as more strategic and long-term support.
What are the most important skills and personal qualities for a Relationship Manager in the Family Office department?
Having the right balance of IQ/EQ is essential. The families that we support almost take our technical skills for granted. As a family’s ‘right-hand person’, you not only manage their ongoing to-do list, you also need to be able to connect with all members of the family to understand their ambitions, implement strategies to achieve their goals, challenge individuals where necessary and act as a sounding board.
Part of my role also encompasses coaching and mentoring next generation family members, using our experience gained working with other families to provide examples of what has and what has not worked, offering a fresh perspective.
What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing in your sector?
I would say, appropriate engagement with the next generation, making sure we continue to be the ‘go-to people’ families prefer to interact with when it comes to making big decisions in their lives.
As the future custodians of the family wealth, it is crucial that the next generation feels able to have meaningful conversations, play a part in key decisions and understand their role, whether the latter is in a family business or consists of running an estate or engaging with wealth from an investment or philanthropic perspective. It is also hugely important that they are supported while they understand what individual fulfilment represents for them within the context of the broader family’s purpose.
At Stonehage Fleming, one of our primary roles is to help equip future generations with the relevant skills and experiences to manage their current responsibilities, as well as prepare them for the challenges and opportunities they may face as future leaders. In addition, investment in technology and being able to navigate the increasingly complicated regulatory environment will continue to be critical, particularly for international families.
Are your clients behaving differently in the present era?
We have certainly seen an increased focus on succession planning, from a legal and structuring angle as well as from a practical perspective. Families are concerned about ensuring the next generation would know what do in a ‘disaster scenario’ and would have the appropriate team behind them to support as required.
Many of the families we work with have been discussing their social capital: how they can best ‘give back’ or ‘make an impact’. Where appropriate, we are helping families develop bespoke philanthropic strategies, which start with their goals and can lead to implementation and ongoing review, operational support and measurement of impact.
Best and worst parts of your job.
The best part is being in a position where I can spend time and work with some of the most talented and dynamic families in the world. This is a great privilege for me. It has been a shame not being able to meet them in person over the past months, but as restrictions started to ease, this has been much easier.
It can be challenging supporting these families through some difficult scenarios but it is good to know that we can help them navigate both the opportunities and the responsibilities associated with significant wealth.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given?
Always say yes to interesting opportunities, this is the best way to have the most exciting career.
Priyanka Hindocha is a member of our Leaders List.