Virtual family offices incorporate exceptional wealth management with added robust attentiveness to administrative and lifestyle matters. They are able to deal with all the important one-off situations that might arise, which are commonly referred to as special projects.

At the center of any virtual family office is the affluent client, supported directly by a coordinator—a person or team of people who:

1. Provides a particular expertise
2. Coordinates and facilitates other professionals on behalf of the affluent client

That coordinator can readily be a wealth manager (although accountants and trusts and estates attorneys are increasingly taking on the role of coordinator). The coordinator must be very adept when it comes to the human element.

To be clear … what helps draw many of the affluent to virtual family offices is their ability to help clients deal with an array of issues and concerns that are not at their core financial. All in all, virtual family offices regularly are able to deliver a comprehensive expertise and an exceptional experience. 

Aside from the expansion of expertise beyond wealth management into family support capabilities, a powerful and dominant advantage of a virtual family office is synergies. Because virtual family offices are bespoke, the ability to look at all the needs and wants of a client, including those that are more than just financial, results in connecting services in ways that optimize that client’s financial world.

It is possible, for example, to extensively benefit by combining wealth management with longevity planning. The result is that the affluent client will be better able to afford the medical breakthroughs that can extend his or her life or the lives of their loved ones. Also, the affluent client will be more likely to have the economic resources needed for living past 100.

It should come as no surprise that the wealthy, given their druthers, want the myriad advantages of a virtual family office. At the same time, the business benefits of financial professionals that can structure virtual family offices for their affluent clients are substantial and only likely to get much, much better.   

Russ Alan Prince is president of R.A. Prince & Associates.

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