Family offices come in various shapes and sizes, each with its unique set of challenges. But they’re not as easy to navigate as traditional fund structures – after all, family matters are blended with professional investment.
Navigating the Intricacies of Family Office Management
On the Wall Street Lab podcast with host Andreas von Hirschhausen, Jan Voss, family office manager at BLN Capital (the Single Family Office of the founders of Kolibri games), provided an insider’s perspective on the world of family office management. Voss discussed the challenges and rewards of working in this unique industry, offering valuable insights for aspiring professionals and shedding light on what it truly means to be a family office manager.
The primary function of a family office is to manage the wealth and investments of high-net-worth families. Family offices can be single-family offices (SFOs) or multi-family offices (MFOs), depending on whether they serve one or multiple families.
Voss explains the essence of being a family office manager:
“The one common theme is that you become the trusted advisor of one or multiple individuals of a family, for example. And I think that’s what’s really fascinating because if you want to do that job right, you can’t just be the person who’s limited to, for example, I just want to do venture. I just want to do private equity.”Jan Voss
Handling Discretion and Trust: The Cornerstone of Family Office Management
Family office managers often find themselves in delicate situations, requiring a high level of discretion and trust from the families they represent. The confidentiality and privacy of the family’s financial matters are of utmost importance, and family office managers are expected to maintain strict confidentiality.
Voss shared an example of how he approaches these challenges:
“Even if they’re very enthusiastic about something, you need to stay rational. Tell ’em like, okay, do we think that this is appropriate? Do you think this fits, which risk would it might bring?”Jan Voss
Balancing the interests of the family while maintaining professionalism is crucial in this role. Building a strong relationship with the family based on trust and understanding is essential for successful long-term collaboration.
The Appeal of the Family Office Space: Diversity and Intellectual Stimulation
Despite the challenges, Voss is passionate about working in the family office space, as it offers a unique opportunity to interact with a diverse range of people and industries. Family office managers often find themselves involved in various investment opportunities, philanthropic endeavors, and estate planning matters.
Voss elaborates on the appeal of the family office space:
“I get to meet so many interesting people. I get to touch so many different things and I kind of need to think about how all these different puzzle pieces fit together. And I think it’s just a very intellectually stimulating jobJan Voss
Listen to the full interview on the latest episode of the Wall Street Lab podcast.