Most professional services firms, such as investment advisors, accounting and law firms, and multifamily offices, are greatly motivated to position themselves as recognizable experts in their fields. By being thought leaders, they are able to garner wealthy clients, partly by being able to persuade centers of influence to provide steady streams of high-net-worth referrals.

There is, however, a corner of the ultra-wealthy universe where high visibility as a thought leader is absolutely not the answer to winning more clients.

There are a number of multifamily offices that are making extensive and strenuous efforts to not get any notoriety whatsoever. They are adept at not appearing on any of the various lists of family offices or investment advisors. They shun industry conferences, but are often quite keen on attending major international events, including the World Economic Forum, the Milken Institute Global Conference, the Clinton Global Initiative and similar types of gatherings. 

All these multifamily offices have websites. However, without pass codes, a person cannot get access to anything. More telling is that unless someone knows the website’s URL, he or she is unlikely to find the site in the first place. A handful of them have done a great deal to erase their presence on the conventional Internet. Instead, they have taken up residence in the “dark net.” To further ensure privacy, they regularly use encryption and even use crypto-currencies.

Although they are out of sight to most other professionals and completely unheard of by nearly all the ultra-wealthy, they are not—in the least bit—secrets. Each of these multifamily offices is diligently adhering to the laws and regulations in the jurisdictions in which it operates. So with a little database digging, it is possible to discern key facts about them.

One of the most informative characteristics of these low-
profile multifamily offices is the wealth of their clients and their exclusivity. By and large, their clients are at the very pinnacle of the financial pyramid. One of them, for example, is presently working only with billionaires. Because of the demands of their economically elite clientele, these multifamily offices are rarely looking for new clients. All of their new clients are referred in; no one comes in over the transom. And each potential new
client is thoroughly vetted. 

The business models and operations of these multifamily offices are exceedingly effective and efficient. Mobile technology, for instance, is extensively deployed, as their clienteles tend to be global citizens. They are very process-oriented, making sure almost nothing falls through the cracks. 

So while high visibility is a competitive advantage for most multifamily offices, remember that there is a small group of offices that excel by quietly catering to the super-rich.