Under the guidance and thoughtful leadership of CEO Richard C. Wilson, The Family Office Club has more registered family offices than any other community or family office association globally. Since 2007, the organization, which grew in response to real demand, has been helping form family offices, fostering a valuable peer network, hosting the industry’s best events, and serving as an educational resource to members of the family office community.
Richard runs the Family Office Club full time with his 18-person team and also operates Centimillionaire Advisors, LLC which is an advisory firm dedicated to serving $100M+ net worth families in constructing their family office solutions and direct investment programs.
Twelve years ago, Richard believed in his mission and laid down the foundations for a distinctive, exceptional – in fact unique- business model which led to global recognition and was a springboard for the advancement and increase of “Family Office.”
Richard is a pioneer, who is recognized globally but is genuinely humble, with the energizing momentum of building a vast network through helping people to accomplish more. His affirming and inclusive leadership, approachable demeanour and generous outlook delivers results.
“Our mission is to reshape the family office industry to be more efficient, by helping anyone who is learning early on how to connect with peers, raise capital, or start a family office, by continually removing more and more of the inefficiencies in this space.”- Richard Wilson
Richard tells Billionaire Chronicle: “Through my earlier career in risk and wealth management I stumbled upon numerous management firms calling themselves “family offices.” I found it difficult to find resources at the crossover between management firms and family offices, without meeting the ultra-wealthy face-to-face. During this progress, I also realized that there were numerous inefficiencies in this space on both buyer and seller sides. On the family office side, there may be a liquidity event, but people are not sure how to start a family office or may have been advised by a private banker to put all assets in a market that ultimately benefits contradictory and even adverse interests. When raising capital, I have seen inefficiencies in sourcing excellent deal flow and talent at all levels of business due to secrecy in best practices and know-how.”
Family offices are now widely accessible to the public, creating a heightened demand for the elimination of inefficiencies. Richard, with his experience and expertise of twelve years in the family office space, has spoken at well over 200 conferences in 15 different countries, as well as, hosting conferences globally to help teach the independently wealthy how to put together a family office from scratch and how to engage with family offices in order to close deals.
Family Office Club now hosts 25-30 events per year. Some of these events are fast-paced boot camps focussed on attracting investors and raising funds. Some are investor summits featuring 25-35 investors on stage in a single day in a fast-paced format. There are also intensive workshops for those looking to work with family offices or serve them as clients.
Family Office Club events are hosted in London, Miami, New York, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, and Singapore.
Once a year, the Family Office Club holds a 1,000+ person Family Office Club Super Summit in Miami, which gathers more family offices on panels and in a single room than anywhere in the world. In 2018, there were 75 speakers on stage at this prestigious gathering, which was attended by over 250 family offices, 1,250 investment professionals, and 100 angel or institutional investors.
The mission of Family Office Club is to be the number one thought leader on family offices globally and have the most books and podcasts and resources. Historically, the industry has been opaque, secretive, and difficult to navigate. Richard says: “Many individuals like me are looking for connections, insights, and best practices, and don’t want to pay $1000 for the webinar, $10,000 for a 3-day workshop, or $400 for their white paper on the industry. We are committed to giving away information every day that others charge for so we can help the family office model grow and be helpful to those who have recently had liquidity events and are in need of a family office solution. It is through generous sharing of what we learn by serving our clients that we continue to grow our network and learn even more. We do not have a scarcity mindset where we are afraid to share ideas.”
According to Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and Wealth-X, there are over 40,000 centimillionaires (people with net assets in excess of US $100 million) globally, and many of them have never heard the term family office. Part of Family Office Club’s mission is to spread the word and to get a better solution in place for this demographic. It is up to centimillionaires to decide whether to take the opportunity. “It is most important and most critical to be especially helpful to 100 million plus and the 1 billion dollar-plus individuals because that is the core of who needs a family office solution although those at $25M and up are looking into virtual family office solutions as well. Most people have no idea what the concept “centimillionaire” means and do not know the very fundamentals of the industry or the biggest most costly mistakes which can easily be avoided.” said Richard.
Richards adds: “There are people raising capital or looking to syndicate deals. Even family offices themselves, who might be about to acquire a 200-million-dollar piece of real estate, looking for one or two families to come in with them. They want to connect but do not know how to find valuable connections. Importantly we do not represent anyone raising capital, neither do we do placement agent work nor Investment Banking work. We provide helpful information.”
#1 Bestseller on Amazon
The Single Family Office
CREATING, OPERATING AND MANAGING THE INVESTMENTS OF A SINGLE FAMILY OFFICE
This #1 most popular book ever written on the topic of family office wealth management authored by Richard was the first ever written book that had “single family office” in its title and has been purchased on Amazon and downloaded over 42,000 times since it was published. It is available for free download on www.familyoffice.com.
Richard tells the story behind the creation: “Our first family office book was published in 2012 with Wiley. At the time of the production, I had been entirely focused on running the Family Office Club, and I wanted to ensure that produced a book that was 100 percent on the mark and exactly as valuable as it could be. I interviewed thirty family offices, and I put all the dialogue of those interviews in the book with references. We also inserted a benchmark survey, and about 25 educational videos and webinars in the book. So, this book is not just my ideas and my opinions, it is a collection of perspectives from professionals who run large single and multi-family offices. Authoring this book taught me that single-family offices are much more enjoyable to work with. They are much more private and secretive, so it is more valuable to know them. They do not have websites, and they do not go to events as often.”
Most recently Richard has authored another book entitled the Centimillionaire Migraines: Proprietary remedies to turn the 6 most common headaches of $100M+ net worth individuals into points of strategic advantage. This publication provides insights and offers tools and resources to remedy the headaches of centimillionaire families. “I find that these complications become almost inevitable once you get to a hundred million or more in that word. Just about all of my clients have these same headaches over and over again. The same issues come up and tear the family apart, destroy their wealth or hurt their ability to function as a single unit. I go through the six top headaches and provide remedies for them. Anyone who has been in the space for over a decade like me sees these patterns over and over again. And some of these mistakes are very avoidable.”
One of the migraine types that Richard explores is what he calls “blurry vision.”
In case of families with two billion or two hundred million dollars of liquidity, they spend ten, twenty sometimes forty years building a business. They have liquidity. But what seems to happen is that before these families can gather themselves and set out their goals and intentions regarding how they want to live, the individuals closest to them or their good friends in their local community start pitching them investments or showing them real estate opportunities.
Many families start making investments without strategic guidance; many of them start making direct investments in startups and highly risky ideas of the next “unicorn potential” mobile app or social media platform.
Richard advises families to look at their investment portfolio and break it apart into three different sections. The first area typically is the defensive traditional looking wealth management portfolio, made up of highly diversified assets, many of which that are uncorrelated. These are the types of investments that most people think of when discussing traditiona wealth management.
Second for non-correlated assets to protect and diversify to an extreme. Many families don’t focus enough on their commercial real estate
mandates, and do not have experience in negotiating fees, finding best in class independent sponsors, or structuring JV equity or CO-GP deal structures in this area. Being aware is crucial when planning
as the person who may assist with real estate transactions is not the
same person who may help with a traditional wealth management
The third part of a typical ultrawealthy investors portfolio is often an offensive area of investments including direct investments into operating businesses. A lot of families have entirely non formalized direct investment criteria, so they make highly risky investments. The valuations are too
high, they overpay and take a lot of risks. They should make very focused
investments if they try to play offense in an area that they do not
know very well.
When families come out of liquidity without a very clear vision, they may
lose all their money. This is an example of the types of ideas and
models that the ultra-wealthy need to hear about or they will lose their
wealth and even worse the relationships with their own family
Richard makes this book available free on his website
According to Richard Multi-Family Offices can be very helpful in bringing in solution and service providers or proposing holistic solutions to the families. However, they need to be expertly equipped to help a family in a manner commensurate with the level of wealth the family has.
Average Multi-Family Offices serve clients at the ten to fifty million dollars net worth level, but some might have a few clients at a hundred or two hundred million dollars. Most Multi-Family Offices are not equipped to deal with a large number of clients that have a net worth of hundreds of millions of dollars. Multi-Family Offices, in general, have a “lower” ultra-wealthy focus and lack of in-house expertise in direct investments.
Richard explains: “Over my 12 years of experience of meeting over a thousand of Multi-Family Offices, most of them do not have a lot of in-house direct investment capabilities. Currently, we have three hundred family offices speaking on stage at our conferences. I have only identified a few that have not only direct investment capabilities but also on average their clients are worth two hundred million dollars. This is very rare. Families, who are worth a hundred million plus, should focus on assembling single-family offices versus seeking average multi-family office assistance.”
As the space gets more crowded, there will be more and more specialized multi-family offices. These offices will be more involved with specialized tax treaties, multi-generational initiatives and estate planning across two countries, currency conversions, and commercial real estate investment transactions between two countries.
Whether it is single or mult-family office they need to develop a unique stance in the marketplace, looking to serve a unique client or client set, and
built with infrastructure that provides superior speed and results for the goals which are most critical for the family(ies) they serve. All families have their unique games that they are prepared to play with a high degree of confidence and be open to working with others, as long as the rules of their game are not broken.
“Let’s bring real estate in as an example. Conflict may come into place when you have, let’s say, families who are experts in commercial real estate. One problem could be that a suitable deal is tough to find; another is that heavy due diligence costs are involved. So, it can be a tight spot for some families who routinely are having other families take advantage of their infrastructure and their cost. If it is not a win-win both ways that sometimes can lead to discontent between families.”
Richard observes that in the last two years, the words “family office” have been on the front cover in the Wall Street Journal and in more mainstream publications like The Economist. This was unheard of even just five years ago. So, it seems that those who work in finance are starting to be familiar with the term while the general public still has no idea what it means. However, things are shifting. ”Nobody, not even in finance, used to know what the term meant. Now 12 years later we are one degree further. What is even more interesting is that even today there are still many ultra-wealthy who have never even heard the words before.”-says Richard.
He continues: “I met with a billionaire in New York City who made his money in real estate. He did not know what a family office was or why he would need one. I think it might take another 12 years or 50 years in the future when most billionaires and most centimillionaires have heard the term. The industry will be expanding exponentially due to the high demand for the services multi-family offices offer. With the birth of virtual family offices and having more formalized single-family offices in the industry, there is already a massive growth curve right now.”
Richard believes that generating as much value as possible for the last twelve years in a single niche has been the core secret of Family Office Club, and this trend will continue.
Family Office Club’s most effective outreach strategy requires that the outreach be both persistent and proactive outreach. Richard plans to continue with the expansion of services and events via a multitude of outreach channels for the next 20 years. Retirement is indeed not on the cards because growing this network and building the brand are long-term commitments for Richard. “The approach we have taken is having an informative media platform with resources for both the ultra-wealthy and for investment professionals who may be raising capital or seeking clients We have found the more we give away through books like Centimillionaire Migraines or our free book at http://CapitalRaising.com the more investor connections, insights, and deal flow we get connected to. We look at our various pieces of intellectual property and business divisions as separate business divisions at times, but also as part of a larger system to spread best practices and position so that we are in the flow of new family office models of operating, and investment opportunities. We developed this idea after seeing how many $100M+ net worth families grew their wealth and we adopted strategies from clients to construct our business model.”
Over the last twelve years, I have found that it does not matter whether you are running a family office, developing a direct investment program or trying to raise capital. I think the most important thing in business and life is integrity.
When people think about integrity usually, they think about being a good person. However, the definition of integrity can be much broader to encompass integration of all of the pieces of your personal self and business assets. Everything in your business- yourself, your habits, who you spend time with, your company values, your team members, what you invest your money in- has to be aligned otherwise you are just restraining yourself or confusing other people on what you want to be doing.
When someone does diverse independent ventures at random, energy is dissipated, and alignment and conviction decline.
The family values must be aligned with who you hire, and your investments must be aligned with the reality you want to possess. When raising capital, you should be prepared to put your own money in and pay attention to building a strong team and being well located. The assets you buy must be aligned with past experience, expertise and track record.
The most successful people, who have great trust and faith in what they do, are the ones who have been doing something for a very long period. There is great consistency. They are the ones who are most effective at making progress in the world because they have all their pieces aligned and pointed in the same direction.