I am a fan of Family Office Exchange (which is commonly referred to as FOX), but an article of theirs I read today had me wanting to stomp my feet in disgust.
The article, “Starting Critical Wealth Management Conversations“, is by Todd Luchik, who says in the first paragraph, “Wealth advisors are as much family counselors as they are portfolio managers or financial planners.” Yikes! Say it isn’t so!
As a CPA and former wealth manager turned licensed counselor, I know well both the role of wealth advisors and family counselors. And I dare say that without extensive education, training, and experience, a wealth advisor is no more qualified to counsel families than an equally unprepared counselor is qualified to advise on decisions of wealth. A fundamental practice of all professions should be “Do no harm,” and a wealth advisor seeking to act as a family counselor would do just that – cause harm.
Matters of family business and family wealth are complex. They involve relational and emotional variables, just as much as financial ones. The advisor who helps you manage each of these should not be one and the same — unless they have extensive preparations that qualify them to do so. And even then, conflicts of interest arise. It’s best to assemble and engage a team of advisors, each of whom serve your family in the capacity they do best.