Managing the
Complexities of Wealth:

Best Practices for Single Family Offices

Preserving wealth across generations. Maximizing philanthropic impact. Leaving a powerful legacy. Families of significant means have ambitious goals and high expectations for their single family office. These best practices can help your team bring the family’s vision to life.

No two families are alike. Likewise, there is no simple formula for managing the complexities of wealth through a single family office. Yet, while each family office reflects the unique needs and personalities of the family that created it, many face common questions, such as:

  • Should we expand our current service offerings—for example, from investing and taxes to philanthropy and multigenerational planning?

  • What capabilities should we outsource versus bring in-house?

  • How do we attract and retain the talent we need?

  • How do we help protect the family’s assets from cybercrime?

  • What tax considerations should we take into account when setting up legal structures?

Morgan Stanley’s Single Family Office Best Practices report provides answers to help you design and maintain the best possible family office for the family’s needs. This comprehensive guide is an essential resource for family office professionals and the ultra-high net worth clients they serve to help bring the family’s vision to life and maintain an organization that is built to last for generations.

In six chapters, you’ll find key considerations and best practices for:

  • Developing a Family Mission Statement
    A family’s conversations about their mission can reveal whether members are best served by conducting their financial affairs through a shared entity such as a family office.

  • Establishing and Operating the Family Office
    How should you choose a legal entity, organize your leadership team and select vendors? How can you help protect the family’s private information from cyber theft? Approaching these questions thoughtfully may help reduce the risk of making costly mistakes down the road.

  • Asset Management
    Creating an appropriate investment policy statement, selecting the right third-party investments, and providing timely, accurate reporting can all be key ingredients for long-term success. The family office stands at the center of these critical functions.

  • Financial Administration
    It’s essential to maintain a healthy accounting, reporting and cash management system that protects the family from the risk of mismanagement and even fraud. While the range of bookkeeping and bill pay services can be overwhelming, a thoughtful consideration of these options can give family members the tools they need to truly access and use their wealth with minimum hassle or confusion.

  • Wealth Planning
    Managing significant wealth goes well beyond selecting investments. For example, decisions about how to share wealth across generations can have significant tax consequences. And properly educating the next generation of family members about their wealth can have a significant long-term impact on the family’s legacy.

  • The Enjoyment of Wealth
    One of the most powerful benefits of having a single family office is the potential to help family members simplify their personal lives, secure the best health care, ensure their personal safety, and travel in the most convenient and comfortable fashion. A well-organized family office can optimize the staffing decisions these service choices raise, and leave the family with the freedom to enjoy the benefits of their good fortune.

Morgan Stanley’s Single Family Office Best Practices report provides answers to the many questions that can arise when navigating these various responsibilities for a family. Request the guide today.

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Swing for the Fences Article

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Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”), its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors and Private Wealth Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Clients should consult their tax advisor for matters involving taxation and tax planning and their attorney for matters involving trust and estate planning, charitable giving, philanthropic planning and other legal matters.

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