Family Offices & Due Diligence
The recent Vanity Fair expose of the Ritossa FO conferences gives us pause to reflect on one of the most important sources of value for families: our networks.
Our networks are a source of deal flow – families like to co-invest and always look to what others are doing. They also are an important step-up for our children – helping them with education, employment and more.
Membership organisations and the event/conference circuit play an important role in helping us curate and extend out networks. While the companies that run these purport to filter who is allowed to join/attend, their due diligence may not be sufficient for family members who attend. Those who are “sell-side” will do whatever they can to gain access to “buy-side” families. And sadly, there are no shortage of crooks and predators in the world.
There is a principle in the security industry: always assume the first line of defence will be breached. And this one from the investment world: don’t rely on someone else’s due diligence (unless your criteria are fully aligned).
I was invited to speak at a Ritossa conference some years ago, and something about it felt a bit funny. I asked a couple of trusted friends (who are mentioned in the article) and they confirmed my suspicions. Phew!
Developing a ‘sense of smell’ takes years. Taking people into our trusted network should be done very carefully, and always considering the risks against the potential gains.
Consider This: What protocols and due diligence processes does your family have for new business and personal relationships? Are rising gen family members educated as to the value of their networks and the risks of networks and relationships being compromised?
Here is more on reading on Family office(s).