Engaging With Clients
The typical interface for a Market Street client is a wealth advisory team comprising of at least six professionals spanning the legal, tax, accounting, investment, trust and insurance disciplines. For families with broader portfolios, the firm has developed other specialized support capabilities. One such offering, born from a planning exercise with the Houghton family more than 20 years ago, is a suite of services for private foundations, including board operations, governance practices, grant oversight processes and the necessary administrative and tax work for the legal structures. Young says they provide comparable support to nine foundations now and have established an investment program suitable for charitable assets.

Another area that’s been given particular attention is engagement with the firm’s younger clients. It’s widely accepted that the large majority of inheritors will switch advisory firms within a year of receiving their assets. Yet, for the most part, wealth managers have remained passive. In contrast, Market Street wants to recruit personnel that are attuned to generational differences among its clients. The board considers generational diversity as it evaluates new members. It also prioritizes building independent relationships with younger family members by assigning dedicated wealth advisors when beneficiaries turn 18. Young acknowledges that keeping the business of the next generation is not a given and that she and her team must help younger clients “be aware of what’s in place here, the infrastructure and the expertise that serve their families.”

With this in mind, Young says she worries “about maintaining low turnover among staff because relationships are personal.” She reiterates that small-town values are an embedded part of Market Street and looks for clients and employees who want the same thing: long-term relationships. “Our clients like the extent to which we get to know them and work with them,” Young says. “We get invited to weddings, we grieve with them and we are guests in their homes.” 

Leverage For The Future
The past two decades have embodied real change for Market Street—assets under management have more than doubled, the employee base has tripled and service to clients has improved.

As Young completes her 15th year as president, the organization is thinking about succession planning and how to leverage its reserves of native expertise into templates and solutions for new clients. “We have a great offering. We know what we do and we do it well,” says Young.

She and Houghton believe that the spike in entrepreneurial wealth creation and expected wealth transfers are an opportunity for Market Street to demonstrate its knowledge of private trust companies, trust vehicles and multigenerational planning and education.
Houghton says he is “struck by how many families are dead set on doing it all themselves,” and cites the common trade-off between quality and control that occurs when wealth holders aren’t willing to accept help from outside their inner circle.

Houghton and Young form a partnership that has an understanding of the ideal family office experience and the degree of innovation required to stay ahead of the erosion of wealth caused by taxes, inflation and fees. They’ve used this knowledge to refashion a traditional family office into something competitive and compelling, while doubling down on unscalable activities that help cement relationships, such as returning operating margin to clients and giving personalized attention.