While family offices have become more professional, Francis Parisis, Global Head of Private Wealth at Intertrust Group, says they need to constantly meet new challenges by improving efficiency through technology.
What trends have you identified recently in the family office sector?
Management of family offices is improving. They are reaching out to professionals to help them and, with the wider availability of IT platforms, they are migrating to dedicated systems. While in the past we saw family offices sealing themselves off, we now see them exchanging ideas, helping and embracing opportunities for cross investment with other family offices. The newer generation is becoming more agile and broad-minded in terms of investment; there is a trend away from pure asset protection towards alternative investments, geographical and industry diversification and faster turnaround investments. Behaviours are very responsive to the current situation: the Covid-19 pandemic has seen a growth of investments in pharmaceuticals, for example. We have also seen people who are cash rich looking for opportunities ranging from logistics to real estate.
There is a trend away from pure asset protection towards alternative investments, geographical and industry diversification and faster turnaround investments.
How is Intertrust Group adapting and developing its offering to family offices?
We have developed the tools and processes to service large groups and our experience tells us the future of our business lies in technology. We have geared up with new reporting tools, and different technologies that allow our clients to use databases and documentation management systems to gain access to their information and materials. Our client portal “IRIS” provides them with everything they need to set up a fund in just one click – whether that is in Singapore, Abu Dhabi or Luxembourg. This technology is our added value – mean and lean. People who support technology will carry the business forward and Intertrust Group has launched new products that are well regarded in the industry.
What opportunities and challenges do you foresee for the family offices sector in the next five years?
Family offices will have to adapt and improve to take advantage of the opportunities being created. That will mean moving towards greater professionalism and embracing new technologies. Many expect a surge in taxes to help pay for the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as a new wave of regulations to which family offices will have to adhere; no doubt, they will be seeking advisors to navigate these complexities. We now have DAC-6 to comply with and we will have a new wave of AIFMD II for the larger investment vehicles. This is one of the tasks LAFO will undertake to see which regulations will affect family offices. Speeding up and streamlining family office operations and functions through greater professionalism will allow them to address the challenges and the opportunities created by a more diversified and agile investment approach. Family offices can have a big impact on our world in a positive way because they are preparing for the future and therefore tend to look to the longer term.