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How to Bridge the Family Office Generation Gap


Even though 50% of Family Offices surveyed by the North America Family Office Report last year felt as if they lack a next-gen family member qualified (or interested) enough to take over, and about 30% of patriarchs and matriarchs are not willing to relinquish control, most Family Offices feel like they are well prepared for the next generational transfer. Regardless, at some point in the not-too-distant future the time will come for the current generation to resign and allow the next generation to take control. Anneke Stender, the EVP of Plumb’s Family Office Accounting & Bill Pay Division, has provided some of her top recommendations to help your Family Office through this transition. Spoiler alert: they are all related to technology!

Improve Communication

 Increased and improved communication can go a long way towards conflict prevention and allaying concerns. Access to the right technology can help family offices communicate more regularly and at a faster pace. Conversations can be documented and referred to as needed. When all parties are privy to both the big picture and smaller, day-to-day tasks of their family office, they are better equipped to work together towards a shared goal.

Increase Efficiency and Productivity

Technology can help businesses operate more efficiently, and family offices are no exception. The implementation of the right technology can provide the necessary tools to manage investments and assets, as well as the all-important daily operations of bill paying, account reconciliation, expense tracking, cashflow management, wire transfers, and all the relevant reporting needs. Access to real-time data has the added benefit of allowing the family office to make the best decisions possible. As the generation who grew up with mobile apps and anytime-anywhere access gets ready to take the helm, updating family office technology might also make the next gens even more interested in stepping into these difficult-to-fill management roles.

More flexibility

Access to secure, cloud-based applications is integral to remote work, and an amazing amount of work can be completed remotely. Gone are the days when we need to rely on locally stored servers and in person workspaces. At a time when younger generations have an expectation of being able to work remotely, wherever they may find themselves, it is important that family offices have the infrastructure to allow for this.

Beautiful three-generation family smiling at home

Technology can help with security

This is arguably one of the most important aspects of how technology can assist in bridging the generation gap. If there is one area that everyone can agree on, it is the critical need for privacy, safety, and security. The generations might not agree on the direction and goals of their family office, but they know how dangerous a cyber-attack can be, as is evidenced by cybersecurity climbing to the number-one concern for Family Office Exchange (FOX) members, according to the 2021 FOX State of the Family Office Industry survey. The best family office technology tools will provide bank-level security and 24/7 monitoring to ensure that all personal and financial data is protected.

Succession and future planning are not easy tasks, but it is a vital one, and all family offices should have their succession plans clearly outlined. The sooner family offices integrate the use of technology into their business, the easier and smoother the transition to the next generation will be.

 For more information about how you or the Family Office you manage can benefit from the clarity, organization, expertise, and stewardship that Plumb provides, please reach out today and we will be in touch with you shortly.

 The above was excerpted from our recently featured article as a Solution Provider in GFO’s WeatlhTech Landscape Report 2022, p.23


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