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CRE Insights Blog

Family Office Investment Committees (Zurich)

Hello, this is Richard Wilson coming to you from Zurich, Switzerland. I’m here to act as chairman for a local finance and investments conference that’s going on. It should be a great conference, [inaudible 00:00:12] investments, UBS, Swiss Hedge, lots of different large family offices and hedge funds will be there. What I wanted to explain to you today was how family office investment committees work. Family office investment committees really hold the purse strings of family offices. They decide what they invest in, how often they invest in it, percentages of where everything goes, when to fire a manager, when to hire a fund manager, they really do control where the capital flows in the family office industry. So it’s pretty crucial you understand how investment committees at family offices work if you want to work for a family office or raise capital from one. And that’s kind of the point of the video here. There’s a few different types of investment committees that operate at single family offices and multifamily offices, and if you don’t know the difference yet between single and multifamily offices, I encourage you to watch our other videos on that topic. At a single family office, the investment committee is typically smaller because the team is typically smaller. Lots of times investment committees at single family offices can be made up of just three to five people internally, and externally they might bring in a CPA, maybe a global tax expert, a risk management or institutional consultant, and those people can either submit research reports, independent opinions to the investment committee, or they may actually sit on the investment committee and sit in on the actual meetings. I think that’s important to note because at multifamily offices, it’s usually much different. At a multifamily office, typically the investment committee is made up of five to 12 professionals and they’re almost always internal. At a single family office, probably 50% of the time there’s somebody external from outside the family office operation sitting on the investment committee. At a multifamily office, usually it’s about 90% of the time it’s only made up of in-house professionals and 10% of the time they might bring in institutional consultant or the head of another family office they often work with, or something like that. But really it’s pretty rare on the multifamily office side. Now the way an investment committee works in both cases is typically that one committee is helping make both strategic and tactical decisions for the portfolio, when to hire managers, when to fire fund managers, where globally assets should be allocated, and typically there is just that one investment committee. Sometimes they meet daily, but that is rare. More often they meet every one or two weeks, or once a month. The most common I’ve found is once a month, but it really depends on how large the team is and whether they’re talking every day in the office together anyways because there’s only 10 of them in the office, or whether there’s a hundred people in the office and they need to meet more often. All those things can affect how often the investment committee meets. Now, I have ran into a few family offices that actually run two investment committees. They run a strategic investment committee that decides what buckets assets should go in over time and strategically allocate to different regions of the world, different types of asset classes. But then they also have a tactical investment committee that’s much more nimble and agile, that can meet more often, more quickly, and on short notice. A tactical committee is smaller and they’re experts on making tactical decisions to adjust to recent market movements, economic conditions, macro conditions in the marketplace.

About the author

Richard Wilson