April 13, 2018 – West Palm Beach, FL-based Family Office Networks has announced the launch of FON Search, an affiliate of the Quest Organization, as a new division dedicated to identifying and recruiting top-tier talent for family offices.
“Family offices today are increasingly sophisticated and require specialized expertise to make the strategic decisions required to preserve their legacy, educate future generations and preserve wealth,” said Andrew Schneider, founder and president of Family Office Networks. “Our search team includes professionals with backgrounds such as CPAs in the ‘Big 4,’ who can provide clients with meaningful hiring recommendations that are grounded in a thorough understanding of overall business including operations, finance, accounting, risk, compliance, capital raising, taxes and human capital.”
Michael Rosenblatt, CEO of the Quest Organization and FON Search, said that in many ways the new enterprise is an extension of the work his organization has been doing for years. “For the past 30-plus years we have taken a holistic approach to finding the most talented individuals for C-level executives and middle management professionals while insuring that our clients have truly defined their needs both from a technical perspective and an overall fit perspective,” he said.
FON Search will launch with a special symposium called “Higher Right – How to Hire Effectively in the Family Office Workplace,” which will focus on current trends including compensation, legal issues, retaining key employees, G1 vs. G2, and other significant issues that impact family offices.
The team at FON Search has over 30 years of success developing partnerships and relationships with family offices, said the firm. The team advises some of the top family offices nationwide.
Family Office Networks is a global community for families to share information and intelligence. The team works with a select group of top-level investment managers and sponsors who offer substantial families access to stellar investment opportunities in areas such as real estate, venture capital, private equity and hedge funds. In addition, Family Office Networks shares thought leadership on topics related to portfolio management, philanthropy, multi-generational wealth management, compliance and regulation, risk management, insurance, training and education.
No Two Alike
“There is an old saying in the business that when you have seen one family office, you’ve seen one family office,” said Linda Mack, founder and president of Mack International, a family office executive search firm based in Chicago. “Each one is that unique – they are like snowflakes. Typically, for the head of family office we are looking for the ‘expert generalist.’ This is the person who needs to possess an understanding of all of the functional areas of wealth management and the family on a horizontal basis but who also maintains a keen knowledge across the whole continuum of finance, accounting, tax, estate planning, investments, philanthropy and so forth. It’s complicated.”
Recruiting for the Family Business … It’s All About Passion
CarterBaldwin Executive Search placed John Sabol as president of Pinnacle Promotions, a family-owned promotional marketing agency. Dave Sobocinski, a founding partner of CarterBaldwin, headed the assignment.
Whomever a family office hires to manage their operation must understand the family’s requirements, how the office is staffed and their objectives. “That person also has to have tremendous peripheral vision because they need to understand that when something happens 180 degrees to the right there might be three things that will be affected 180 degrees to the left,” said Ms. Mack. “Family office leaders need to be very smart and highly resourceful. They can’t anticipate everything that will come up in the family office world and they might not have all the answers, but they should know all of the questions to ask and they should have the network and resources to be able to tap into to get the information that the family needs to make a good decision.”
Ms. Mack said that working with families tends to become very personal. “When we conduct a search, we start with a 360-degree assessment process where we interface with all of the people with whom the candidate will need to work or collaborate so that person will be instantly effective when they begin in the role,” she said. “This almost always involve the principals of the family and, in some cases multiple generations or multiple branches of families, their staffs and advisors. So this is unlike searching for any other client; it is a highly personal process where we communicate very closely with families. And of course when you layer in private discussions about their wealth, it can and does become very personal, very quickly.”
Finding a Fit
As a recruiter, what Ms. Mack considers most distinct about working with a family office, however, is the type of professional that families seek. “Each family has unique needs, a unique culture, and like any family a family office is made up of many individuals and they span in some cases multiple generations,” she said.
“So, from our perspective and before we can even begin to profile what the family office leader will look like, we step back and look at things like family dynamics and, most importantly, what the family is trying to accomplish over the next 15 to 20 years and then we make certain that everybody is in sync and aligned around that vision and the objectives set forth. This, then, enables us to profile the position and to figure out who best will fit.”
Working with families involves a lot of nuance, said Ms. Mack. Every family is different. “So we typically open with discussions around family and we look at long-term horizons,” she said. “It is a very personal conversation which touches on business objectives certainly, but the discussion about family objectives figure more prominently at least in the beginning. I would say culture fit is just so crucial. It is important in any search for a family that the culture is right in the bullseye or it won’t work.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media