At the third annual Creating An Excep-tional Family Office conference in Boston at the end of September, I had the privilege of moderating discussions with a number of top industry practitioners and trusted advisors to the ultra-affluent. Attendees got the benefit of hearing first-hand a range of insightful stories that helped clarify what it takes to earn and keep the business of the financial elite, along with some advice about how to navigate the complexities associated with delivering a family office experience to clients. I’ve selected some of the most useful and enlightening comments to share with the readers of Private Wealth.

Gemma Leddy, partner at O’Connor Davies and head of its family office practice
“The size and intricacy of single-family office relationships means that there are a lot of moving parts and a lot of opportunities for things to fall through the cracks. We conduct a financial and operational audit for all new clients and, without exception, have uncovered problems the principals were previously unaware of.”

Richard J. Flynn, founder and managing partner of Flynn Family Office
“Effective family offices are team builders, problem solvers and tactical experts. Along those lines, one of the most valuable roles we play for our clients is as their personal CFO. We coordinate and manage the various components of their financial life for them and can step in and act as a buffer between them and other providers, when necessary.”

Michelle Smith, CEO of Source Financial Advisors
“More than half of first marriages end in divorce and about 60% of second marriages. The number is closer to 90% when there are special needs children in the family. Without question, divorce is one of the fastest growing businesses in the world and an opportunity for advisors to capture new assets.”

Thomas J. Riggs, partner at O’Connor Davies overseeing the financial services and alternative investments tax practices
“The exact methods and techniques used to help mitigate taxes are less important than the priorities and needs of the client. I dedicate the time up front to understanding each client’s unique situation and what he or she is trying to accomplish before making any assumptions or recommendations.”

Frank W. Seneco, president of Seneco & Associates Inc.
“Even the most astute business owner is likely to leave money on the table if they don’t do any advanced planning to boost their valuations and protect themselves from lawsuits and other forms of targeted attacks.”

Alan Kufeld, partner at Flynn Family Office
“Every single aspect of an effective family wealth plan—from the entrepreneurial to the philanthropic—is directly connected to advanced tax planning. Family offices help ultra-wealthy families keep pace with regulatory development and explore every viable option for mitigating obligations.”