The Family Office:Not Just for the Super-Rich Anymore

The Family Office:Not Just for the Super-Rich Anymore
by Christine Rew Barden

Attorney, DeWitt, Ross & Stevens

Family Offices conjure up images of grand office suites in which workers go about managing the massive wealth of a high-profile family.While there may be such offices in operation, they are the exception rather than the rule.Family offices are becoming an attractive and practical option to an ever-increasing segment of the U.S. population.

At last count, there were approximately 5,000 family offices operating in the United States (Marianne Mihailidis, Project Consultant, Family Office Exchange, Inc., Oak Park, Illinois).With millionaire households growing at an annual rate of 12% (“Emerging Technologies Change Financial Services Industry,” FOX Exchange Newsletter, Jane Adler, Special Fall Forum Edition, 12/2000), the number of family offices only promises to climb.The high net worth family faces unique challenges ranging from how to obtain the best investment returns on family assets to how to instill in the next generation the family values which made their family great.

The purpose of this article is to introduce the concept of a Family Office:what it is and how it might be an option for your own family.

What is a Family Office? More…

Protecting Seniors’ Interests in a Business Transition


Peter Berenson, CPA, PFS

Forman, Itzkowitz, Berenson & LaGreca

For seniors, transitioning their business to the next generation can be, in some ways, like teaching their child to fly from the proverbial family nest to independent adulthood.  During the growth and developmental years of both the business and the child, seniors typically nurture both with love and money and build emotional bonds.  Then, when they contemplate separation from each, the senior/father begins to assess the related risks.

Understanding business transition risks and how to protect against them requires a brief overview of the two basic transition types: management control and stock ownership.  These can occur simultaneously or independently, and gradually or instantly.  In other words, seniors can transfer daily and strategic management to the next generation while retaining ownership.  Or, they can transition some or all of the ownership to the next generation while retaining daily and strategic management.  Or, both types of transitions can occur simultaneously.  The major difference between the two types is that as long as seniors own more than fifty percent of their business they have the legal authority to grant and/or reclaim management control.  Once the fifty percent threshold is crossed, this legal authority is substantially diminished.  Nonetheless, while the degree of risk may differ with either type of transition, the nature of the risks is the same. More…