Now, more than ever, active and retired professional athletes are faced with the many challenges of creating the best operational back-office solutions to make their operations more efficient; high tech or low tech, each solution has its benefit. With proper due diligence, many family offices are finding the appropriate solution that will both meet their requirements and face the needs of today and years to come.
While in the past back-office support was typically accomplished using trust and the word of their advisors, today althetes are embracing technology and other third-party platforms to play a more active role with their off the field operations, as well as their wealth management capabilities. However, for many families, transformation can still be difficult, especially when the family is operating with outdated business processes and infrastructures. Often some event, such as the death of whomever controls the business or the sale of the business entity will force a change that will end up as a patchwork of “band-aid” solutions, thus creating other issues over time. Studies show that by making “back-office” a priority and devoting the time and energy to do the homework necessary in implementing a suitable platform, efforts ultimately result in a more efficient and cost effective organization.
When thinking about a suitable back-office platform, it is important to start with the objectives and goals of the family office and its enterprises. Areas such as life-style management, investments, tax planning, philanthropy as well as safety and security, both personal and technological, all need to be considered.
After the goals and objectives are identified, the next phase is to review and examine the current back-office policies, procedures, technology, and staff. To be truly independent, the review should be performed by an objective and experienced third-party that can assess the strengths and weaknesses of the current platform, as well as how the current platform integrates with the objectives and goals of the family. The completed audit should also offer solutions as to how best integrate new platforms or processes which may come in the form of custodians, technology platforms, outsourced back-office services or a combination thereof, depending on the needs and wants of the family.
When the most suitable solution is identified, whether it be a single or multi-source plan, a complete and full vetting of the numerous vendors and/or custodians should be performed. There is an abundance of products, platforms, and custodians that exist, all of whom claim to be best in class. Some packaged solutions may even overlap in several categories; selection can be a very confusing and time-intensive process. Having a plan in place and conducting an appropriate analysis will ensure the family office is not only paying for expensive functions it does not need but also allowing for the family office to implement a solution that can evolve over time with minimum disruption or cost.
Whether run in-house, out-sourced, or a combination thereof, a well-functioning back- office capable of meeting the needs of the family is one of the most important aspects of a family office. While often it is under-appreciated, the well-functioning back-office truly provides organization and structure to an enterprise. A systematic, methodical appraisal of all back-office functions is an exercise worth conducting in order to ensure proper implementation of the family’s objectives now and in the future.
If you would like a comprehensive audit of your back-office and its efficiency and functionality, or for additional information please contact us on the contact form here.