Family offices: much more than private investment businesses – Roelof BothaPublished on 08 November 2019
Our industry is beset with a general lack of understanding around the role of a family office, according to Roelof Botha, Stonehage Fleming’s Head of Family Office in London. “The common misconception is that a family office is a private investment business that does other things on the side,” he told guests of at a recent lunch, co-hosted by Invest Africa and Charles Russell Speechlys, to discuss the evolving role of the family office.
While investment management will always be a crucial aspect of managing a family’s assets, the job of a family office in the future will be increasingly to blend the financial and the non-financial objectives of the family, he explained. “For us, our role is much broader. We sit at the top table with a family and are part of the big decisions they face”.
Roelof’s team in London works with a wide range of clients, mostly international families, with a nexus in the UK. Their approach involves much more than the common misconception would suggest, said Roelof. “We assist families in managing proactively the risks they will face down the line.”
Of today’s unpredictable landscape, Roelof is measured. “Right now many of the families we look after in the UK face an interesting political landscape. While we are not in the business of making any predictions, we are able to advise our clients on some practical steps they can take to prepare for the potential changes in environment.”
Looking forward, Roelof predicts the future of the family office to be an evolution of the broader approach he describes. “As trusted advisers, in a sense we share ownership. We take an active role in deciding the direction that the family embraces and empower them with making decisions.”