In this and subsequent blogs I will initially address the concept of the ” Family Office” an often heard but not always fully understood concept in the high net worth community.
Traditionally and historically the family office was organized to manage and administer the affairs and fortunes of a single wealthy family. The focus was on managing and coordinating investments, trusts, legal affairs, accounting, taxes, insurance, real estate, foundations, philanthropic endeavors, wealth transfer to future generations and much more.
Typically the complexity of such activities required the hiring of extensive professional and support staff and even legally organizing in the form of an LLC or corporation. Clearly such level of activity required an operating budget at least in excess of half million to a million dollars and certain minimum levels of family wealth (ca. $50mm- $100mm) or several million in revenues to make such an undertaking feasible.
While there are many families operating their own family office with assets/revenues in this size range or indeed much larger there are those that have found that consolidating activities of several families into one office can produce many synergies. Such arrangements are referred to as “multi-family offices” consisting of up to a dozen families often organized by the families themselves. Alternatively, “ multi-family offices” have come together as result of one or two smaller families employing the services of professional services providers such as larger accounting firms, asset managers or business management firms.
Indeed it is actually the more traditional business management firms (those that have historically simultaneously serviced numerous large entertainment clients on the east and west coast) that have the experience, pre-existing infrastructure and the multitude of professionals (CPA’s trust, investment, etc) to attend to the service requirements of wealthy families who are considering a family office structure but who do not want to go it alone. A family may not want to go it alone because the matriarch or patriarch of the family may not have the knowledge, business experience, energy or confidence to assimilate the pieces for an effective office or co-equal members of a family can simply just not agree which path to take.
This is where the existing “multi-family” office could certainly assist. I look forward to your comments and please check back for subsequent Family Office related blogs.
Entertainment executives have long lived on the hot seat, as their position to decide what movies or televisions shows get seen generates a high level of criticism from both the creative and the financial communities. Being able to get both creative and financial acclaim is a difficult proposition and everyone loves to blame someone for the downfall of a high profile movie or television series.
When executives get either the accolades for success, or the ridicule for failure, it usually means that they will either parlay this into a better employment agreement, or they will be negotiating their exit from the studio. Under either of these scenarios the executive should be consulting both their attorney and business manager to help obtain the best financial results possible. This means having both the legal and financial advocates that can help with contract negotiation, compensation and stock option valuation, tax implications, as well as fringe benefits negotiation and evaluation. Being able to analyze all of these options and scenarios is very important, and can be of significant value both legally and financially.
Also of most importance for executives living on this perpetual hot seat is planning for the eventual end of their current position. Since they live under such scrutiny, it is paramount to make the proper planning in order to maximize the positive opportunities received from this position. This is especially true if the executive has made it to the upper echelon of company ranks. The target on their their backs is large, which is one reason why they earn such substantial paychecks. Investing, estate planning, tax planning, retirement planning, budgeting, and saving for the future are all crucial if your goal is to maximize the financial success that comes along with rising to such heights within the entertainment industry.
The more planning done up front the better you will feel when the ride comes to its eventual end, as so many of these do.
If you have any specific questions about planning please don’t hesitate to contact us.