A $30+ million transfer of wealth to younger generations is underway and it is clear that family offices and the advisors who serve them need to step up and make changes. Indeed, while 7 out of 10 family offices plan intergenerational wealth transfer in the next 15 years only a third have a written plan for making that a seamless transition and a sixth have no plan at all, according to a recent UBS Global Family Office Report.
One of the changes we’re likely to see in the years ahead is increased reliance on younger advisors. Many advisors and Fund managers are competing for top millennial talent in an effort to reduce the average age of their team while injecting new ideas and themes into their client service platform. Because of generational differences in values and investment approaches it is essential to take a close look at the family office’s use of technology, focus on entrepreneurship, and philanthropic commitment, for example.
Impact investing, the concept of using private capital for social good, will continue to gain momentum as a result of intergenerational wealth transfer. The U.S. SIF Foundation reports that the value of assets currently under management using environmental, social and governance factors is $8.72 trillion and that there is nearly $1 trillion available in foundations and donor-advised funds. Younger generations of a family are often more tuned in to social and environmental causes and are likely to encourage older generations to steer their donations towards these causes. They’re more open minded and engaged with topics such as global wealth inequality, racial and gender issues, and artistic endeavors.
Reports also recognize the trend toward significantly larger donations from wealthy families and shrinking donation sizes from smaller numbers of middle-income donors who are being squeezed out by today’s volatile world economy. The younger generation is committed to making a difference and seeks ways to benefit society in a major way that differs from their parents. Already, family offices typically have a mission statement outlining which causes they will support with the overall goal of making a significant contribution to a select group of organizations for which they are passionate. The family is likely to be involved on a major level that goes beyond simply sending checks each year.
Today, transparency, personal attention, trust, technology, values and communication stand out as the major themes embraced by a younger generation of family office leaders. It’s essential to prepare for the vast changes that lie ahead as massive amounts of wealth are handed over to a new generation.