After more than 13 years operating as part of an international professional services firm, Rick Flynn launched his own New York City-based multifamily office in June and now leads an impressive team of accountants, attorneys and tax and wealth professionals dedicated to serving the world’s most prominent wealth-holders. Flynn was previously principal-in-charge of the Family Office Group at Rothstein Kass, which was recently acquired by accounting firm KPMG LLP. (Flynn is also a columnist for Private Wealth.) I recently spoke with him about his plans for Flynn Family Office (FFO), the organization’s expanding platform of capabilities and how the needs of the super-rich are becoming more specialized.
Grove: Rick, you’ve been leading one of the fastest growing accounting-based multifamily offices in the U.S. Why change things now?
Flynn: From the very beginning, we wanted to be known for the insight and objectivity we bring to each client situation. When the merger between Rothstein Kass and KPMG was announced, it provided an opportunity for us to become independent and grow naturally in ways that best meet the needs of our clients. Everything we do—from our core tax and business management functions to our unique industry research—is concentrated on growing and protecting vast fortunes, addressing sensitive client issues and concerns and preserving family legacies. That mission won’t change.
Grove: Can you describe the team you’ve put together?
Flynn: We are privileged to represent many of the world’s wealthiest and sophisticated individuals and families, and we know that protecting these relationships means offering stability no matter what events are unfolding around them. Our experience has taught us that putting families first is the only way to do that. Fulfilling that promise takes a team.
I’m joined in this new venture by founding partners Evan Jehle (see sidebar), Alan Kufeld and Rob Levin and a staff of more than 30 dedicated client service professionals. It’s a fantastic group of people, and most of us have worked together in a similar capacity for many years. We are looking forward to navigating the next phase of our business with our team intact.
We are currently evaluating some selective expansion opportunities and will need some talented professionals to help us do so; the key is maintaining the quality of the advice and service we deliver to our clients every day while onboarding new perspectives and expertise.
Grove: What’s the mission of the new firm?
Flynn: Simply put, our mission is to let our clients fully realize the benefits of their exceptional wealth. We do that by creating, implementing and refining customized solutions that encompass and unify our clients’ financial and lifestyle objectives. The advantages of this approach hold enormous appeal among sophisticated and discerning ultra-high-net-worth communities, including entrepreneurs, executives, fund managers, professional athletes, entertainers and wealth inheritors.
Grove: How is this reflected in your capabilities?
Flynn: Over the years, we’ve developed a platform that enables us to deliver critical thinking and technical expertise to our clients. FFO employs a classic hub-and-spoke model to surround our platform of award-winning tax, administrative and business management services. Our solutions are often enhanced through the selective engagement of elite service providers from our extensive network.
Every professional and firm we bring to the table has been fully vetted and offers something truly unique, from advanced technology to personal security to connected care medical concierge services and much more. I think of it as building a championship team, albeit heavily customized, where every player knows and is happy to accept his or her role in pursuit of client objectives.
A singular focus on doing what’s right for our clients means our metrics for success must extend beyond bottom-line results and include other factors. We’re convinced that this is the best model for longevity and stability for FFO
Grove: You’ve served entertainers and celebrities, who are notoriously demanding clients. How does this fit within the new firm’s philosophy?
Flynn: Through industry research and direct experience, my team and I have been formally examining the intersection between wealth and fame for over a decade. We have several clients who are well-known entertainers and professional athletes, along with many others who are renowned in their respective fields and arenas, like senior corporate executives, business owners and asset managers. To better address the needs of these unique wealth holders we have created the FFO High-Profile Client Division.
Grove: How will your offering differ for high-profile clients?
Flynn: As in most client situations, we will provide a core set of administrative, tax and project management services, but there are specialized capabilities, such as personal brand management, that are especially appealing to individuals who want to protect and financially capitalize on the value of their public personas.
For high-profile clients, all solutions are designed in consideration of the celebrity brand. Because of ubiquitous technology and the infinite news cycle, reputations established over years can be shredded in minutes. Our clients are increasingly asking for guidance when managing reputational risks and balancing the benefits of visibility against the inherent privacy and security threats that life in the public view entails. Other offerings include social media strategies, tour and event management and crisis containment.
Grove: Will you serve other segments of the affluent population with unique needs?
Flynn: Yes, we’ve observed that new money can be a confusing, emotional and potentially hazardous experience for the individuals and families who have no experience with or point of reference on significant wealth. The New Wealth Solutions Division is tasked with preparing and assisting those who benefit from windfall inheritances, life-altering contracts, liquidity events and other causes of sudden wealth. Those scenarios sound glamorous from a safe distance, but without proper planning, particularly tax mitigating strategies, the rags-to-riches-and-back-again story will continue to play itself out over and over.
Instead, we aim to help these families manage, protect and steward their newfound wealth over the long-term by aligning the optimal network of trusted professionals, who can work together to support the family’s objectives.
Grove: You’ve also established a new initiative to serve billionaires. What can you tell us about it?
Flynn: The Billionaire Division is our newest specialty practice. It was established specifically to understand and resolve the cornerstone issues that add to the complexity and intensity that sometimes overwhelm people at the pinnacle of wealth. As part of the initiative, we’ll offer an enhanced platform that features proprietary technology we created just for our handful of billionaire clients and those who have the drive, resources and vision to ultimately amass stratospheric wealth.