I recently sat down with Keith Bloomfield, president of Forbes Family Trust in New York City, to discuss the nature and evolution of this multifamily office, which is designed to work with the wealthiest families in the world.
Prince: Let's begin by having you discuss the rationale for the Forbes Family Trust.
Bloomfield: The Forbes Family Trust set out in 2009 to provide like-minded families a unique way of accessing the wealth management marketplace and to offer a menu of lifestyle services. Following the global markets financial crisis in 2008, there was a lack of confidence in many of the traditional financial institutions. It was clear that the big banks and many "name" financial advisors were motivated or limited to promote internal offerings at the expense of better suited products from the competition. Many ultra-affluent families found that the objective advice they were putting their faith in was anything but objective.
At the same time, these ultra-affluent families want and deserve the professionals providing advice to be experienced and qualified practitioners ... not product messengers. The attributes of high-quality service, responsiveness and that sense of ownership, although paramount, proved lacking. During the crises, many of the financial advisors to the very wealthy were silent, hoping everything would just blow over.
These factors led to the formation of the Forbes Family Trust and a recent strategic alliance with LGL Partners. Our objective is to deliver the expertise and exceptional service the ultra-affluent expect. In fact, we pride ourselves on dramatically exceeding expectations. At Forbes Family Trust, we provide a high-caliber boutique and an extraordinarily customized approach. The way we work with clients is very, very labor-intensive and completely centered on their needs. We employ a number of cutting-edge analytic tools and processes to enable us to get a very comprehensive and detailed understanding of our clients.
Given our financial backing, we're able to be highly selective with respect to the clients that engage us. Aside from being wealthy, we choose to work with families that have the same values and perspectives as we do. Everyone has to click.
Prince: You talk about being highly selective. Can you go into a little more detail?
Bloomfield: Many financial professionals are not all that choosy, provided the client is wealthy. For example, if a client has $100 million to invest and they came by the monies legally and ethically, I would say that nearly every investment advisor would take the funds. We're not like that. Yes, we want the opportunity to advise on the $100 million, but with all we put into the relationship, we're looking for a long-term association. That means we will turn down investors at this level if we don't feel that there is chemistry. And we have.
Prince: How do you find very wealthy families interested in working with you?
Bloomfield: Because we have the ability to be selective, we're not out there trying to drum up new business as so many multifamily offices are. As I just mentioned, our objective is to identify clients we connect with. There are a few ways this happens.