At the heart of your family’s financial matters: your personal CFO

As well as being time consuming, financial affairs come with unique challenges. Having to manage multiple bank accounts and portfolios, mastering legal structures and complicated compliance requirements and ensuring a legacy – to name a few – can become a heavy burden to carry alone.

Does it seem overwhelming? We understand that the responsibilities placed on families can be exhausting to grasp. That’s why Richter’s Family Account Management team acts as the personal Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for families. With a personal CFO, lifestyle management and a tailored financial roadmap help remove administrative burdens and give back the luxury of peace of mind.

We spoke with Justine Delisle to touch on the nature of a personal CFO, and how they can help lessen the burden associated with financial matters.

What is a personal CFO? What do they do?

Justine Delisle (JD): A personal CFO runs the family’s financial affairs like a business, but with a high-end, personalized approach. When families have complex structures that involve several assets and family members, there are important operational and financial needs that must be met to ensure the optimization of the family’s financial picture – that’s where the personal CFO comes in. In helping establish metrics and KPIs, arranging managerial reporting, spotting and rectifying oversight and organizing strategic meetings, we work to contribute to an optimal high-net worth family structure. As personal CFOs, we also play a crucial role in the integration of all financial pillars such as legal, tax, financial affairs, life insurance, lifestyle, and more. We help families define their objectives and build the proper financial solution to accomplish those goals.

Furthermore, we have an independent approach, never taking commissions or selling financial products, because we know that in order to always work in the best interest of our families, we need to think outside the box and find solutions that are right for them.

I thought only companies had CFOs, so why should my family need one? What’s the added value?

JD: CFOs in a business ensure optimal operations, maximize and manage cash flows, and handle the financial, accounting and tax compliance needs for the company. So why can’t the same be said of high-net worth families? When we realized that many of our families had similar needs in regard to managing their finances, we knew it would be essential to work with them to establish a proper infrastructure and a plan to facilitate their long-term goals while managing their lifestyles day-to-day. Our consolidated reporting of all financial aspects of the family’s life allows us to establish metrics and KPIs in order to ensure optimal performance.

In a way, we approach your wealth in the same fashion as how the CFO would do for a company’s financials, with an added personal touch.

One of the many advantages of personal CFOs is that they also act as quarterback and represent the family in meetings with the other advisors. This allows the personal CFO to fill the operational and administrative gap, making sure that the family is present for key decisions and that their interests are always prioritized.

I already have so many advisors, it’s hard to keep track of it all… how can adding a personal CFO benefit me (my business, my family)?

JD: This question was one of the main reasons why we created and developed the personal CFO service. High-net worth families often have complex structures and work with a number of advisors, not always in an integrated manner. As CFOs, we act as the quarterback for those families, and we ensure that each plan takes into consideration all aspects of their financial life and of the family dynamic. Our goal is to help the family achieve their financial objectives and we do this by ensuring the proper execution of every element that comes into play. We also go a step further: we assess the performance of our plan based on the results and the metrics put in place to accurately evaluate it. From there, we are able to tweak as needed to ensure optimal performance.

In an effort to work seamlessly with our families and their advisors, we’ve developed a holistic approach over the years that allows us to understand what high-net worth families go through, the unique challenges they may face and the goals they want to establish for themselves, and also for their next generation. That’s why we came up with ways to lessen some of the burden associated with financial affairs. The Richter app  was created as a tool to help business owners and their families navigate the complexities associated with managing significant wealth.

a family on a yacht

How does the personal CFO tie in with other Richter services?

JD: At Richter, we value a holistic approach. There’s no two ways about it. This means that in everything we do, whether it be meeting with our families, financial planning and optimization, lifestyle and cash flow management, accounting and tax compliance, consolidated reporting or, even, creating a roadmap for the next generation, we understand that the families we work with, work in an integrated manner. Therefore, so should we. This means that our approach is focused on thinking ahead and spotting opportunities for our families; helping them achieve their financial goals by providing strategic guidance. In this sense, the Richter suite of services is customized for our families’ needs and goals.

What’s your secret to being a great personal CFO?

JD: The secret is that we love what we do, and we especially love the families we work with. Being emotionally engaged and invested makes us attuned to their needs and helps us bring a different perspective. Our approach is focused on innovation and excellence, to always bring our clients the best solutions. But it’s also, in a deeper sense, infused with our love of the community – our hard work is a testament to our desire to watch the families we work with thrive and reach their goals. This means that we must think outside the financial box. We’re not just accountants, our services truly outweigh the ideas associated with the profession, because we want to be on the side of the family, working for them and with them to help achieve their goals.

To do this, we pride ourselves on being highly responsive. We know that a family office doesn’t have regular working hours, neither should we. Family members may need us at anytime, and we are here for them – always listening and finding solutions. We believe in the power of always finding the right solution for the families with whom we work. There really is no problem or challenge that does not have a solution, usually. We find these solutions, and create these solutions, by building strong relationships with our families, by understanding the intricacies of their family dynamics, and lastly, by being independent advisors trusted to always advocate for what’s in the best interest of the families for whom we have the pleasure of working alongside.

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