That means each family’s global financial picture is thoroughly evaluated when they come on board. Not just their assets and estate plans, but all of the insurance structures they have (or don’t have), their commercial banking relationships—essentially all of their intertwined financial relationships. 

The firm’s professionals work with a limited number of families to give them more responsive, proactive service. Michael Tiedemann likens it to a family office model.

Most of its clients are at some point of transition. They might have experienced death or a divorce or transferred wealth to a new generation. But most typically sign up when they are selling a private family company. Such clients want their wealth advisors to assess their situation and come up with a new plan for the management of their assets and estate, addressing all the tax and accounting issues that may arise, says Smith.

“In many of those cases, the [client’s] company and its key staff, such as the CFO, had been essentially acting as a family office for the family, providing needed liquidity, managing invested assets and overseeing tax compliance and estate planning. Once the company is sold, the family is faced with a void,” Smith says.

At that point, Tiedemann steps in and helps the family transition from company wealth to managed wealth—educating the family about what spending and lifestyles their portfolios can now support; helping the family create and manage those portfolios; and helping them manage trusts and other structures whose once illiquid private company holdings have changed into liquid assets. 

Given its specialty of clients in transition, Tiedemann Wealth Management opened a five-man office in late 2013 in San Francisco, where there are not only a lot of suddenly liquid technology executives, but also a lot of private equity investment opportunities in which that cash influx can be invested.

The dollar amounts Tiedemann allocates to money managers in Northern California with access to venture capital deals and other opportunities at this point are “very meaningful,” says Spencer Edge, 35, a partner and senior member of the firm’s investment team. Edge says Tiedemann sees the Bay Area as a hub of innovation and entrepreneurialism, and that can make for highly profitable investments. 

“Having a perspective that’s outside of New York is beneficial to our clients,” he says. “Clearly, out here we’re on the doorstep of Silicon Valley, where much of the venture and growth capital investors are based, so many of the firms we work with are based out here.”

San Francisco is also a gateway to Asia, where the firm sees a lot of growth evolving, Edge adds.