What a Family Office Means for Ultra-Wealthy Women


Amy Hart Clyne, CFP, has dedicated her career to helping successful families realize the promise and potential of their inheritance and achieve a surge of wealth. Amy has over 25 years of experience in the ultra-wealth space and in Pitcairn, she empowers wealthy families through family education while being at the forefront of research and best practices that elevate the role of advisors to one of true partnership. She is also the founder of The Gen 7 Project, Pitcairn’s thought leadership and learning community for affluent families.

Russian Prince: What makes Pitcairn a real family office?
Amy Hart Clyne: Pitcairn is a full-service family office that helps families navigate the challenges and opportunities created by the interplay of family and financial dynamics. Founded in 1922 to manage the financial affairs of the Pitcairn family, we have a century of experience providing a foundation for peace of mind for the families we serve.

Since its inception, Pitcairn has partnered with some of the wealthiest families in the world to meet their needs and achieve better results, year after year, decade after decade, generation after generation. Rooted in our own family experience and enriched by our work with ultra-high net worth families and single-family offices, our distinctive Wealth Momentum approach focuses on taking a deeper, longer-term view of family and financial dynamics that leads to better results. We leverage advanced thinking and modern service innovations to set a new standard in multi-generational wealth management.

Prince: How have you worked with Pitcairn to elevate the women in the firm as well as the clients?
Cline: Pitcairn is something of an outlier in a male-dominated industry. The majority of Pitcairn employees are women. The female/male ratio is 53% to 47%. Women hold many leadership positions across the organization, including CEOs, Knowledge and Learning Managers, Operations Managers, Fiduciary and Legal Services Managers and other Managing Directors. .

Twenty-five years ago, we recognized that within the family office there was a real need to approach women differently from men. So, under current CEO Leslie Voth, we launched the Women’s Forum on Pitcairn, to help women find their voice and become more active participants in their family’s wealth.

Prince: Based on your work with wealthy women, how do you see the role of female heads of households evolving and what do family offices need to know to serve this clientele?
Cline: My new book, Finding Your Voice and Creating a Legacy: Portraits of Pioneering Women Leading Wealthy Families, co-authored by Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D., began as basic research to help better understand the role women play in super-rich families and, and it went from there. The book is an important addition in the field of wealth management because at a time when women are heads of state and CEOs of the Fortune 500, in ultra-wealthy families, they are still too often excluded by long-standing and complex conventions. intergenerational dynamics.

In this book, these female heads of households, regardless of age, are identified as the “new matriarchs” who challenge traditional gender roles. They have not completely shunned the traditional matriarchal construct, but are reshaping it as guardians and business leaders, family stewards and financial stakeholders. They are advocates and role models for greater equality, as well as examples of what women’s gender sensitivity and experience can bring to family leadership.

While conducting these interviews, we couldn’t help but notice the many implications for the family office and wealth advisory audience. So, as the study progressed, we simply asked ourselves, “How could advisors use this information to better serve wealthy women? »

The answers, drawn directly from the conversations with these women, are as fundamental as they are foreign to the old internships in customer relations. There are six things women want their counselors to do:

1. Ditch the inheritance advice mindset. A woman became the head of the family on the death of her husband, cut the inherited team after several months of working with them because she discovered that they continued to play a traditional “caretaker” role and did not want not make changes in the management of his relationship. “I didn’t want to be just taken care of,” she said. “I wanted to learn and become more confident with decisions.”

2. Capitalize on coaching. Women tended to be more open to the concept of coaching, and women whose advisors served more as coaches than as “advisors” were more successful in achieving their goals of understanding wealth and feeling good about wealth-related decisions. wealth and family.

3. See and share their future. Wealthy women agreed that the best advisor is one who can help them see their future holistically, including all of their roles as a leader, mother, grandmother, career woman, etc. But such a consulting relationship was not accessible to everyone.

4. “Lean” on both spouses. While a husband was open and welcoming of his wife’s partnership, their most valued advisors were those who worked proactively in terms of shared understanding and decision-making for both spouses. “My counselor appreciated that my husband wanted me to learn, even though it slowed us down and the counselor had to explain more, do more, work harder,” said one woman. Others noted their surprise and delight when this rare counselor did not wait for the invitation, but kindly asked for the wife’s participation.

5. Represent like-minded female leadership . Two families changed counselors because they wanted to find someone who would work well with family members of all generations. One woman shared that she and her husband first “tested” counselors and their commitment to female family members. Would they receive similar support and development over time? Ultimately, they preferred the female leaders of the consulting firm, both for their influence and their commitment to educating the children. Many couples now have a low-key engagement criteria for counselors and assurance that their daughters will have a voice.

6. Honor the family and its dynamics. In a way that was often not as important to their spouses, our participants sought out advisors who both understood family dynamics and served as financial leaders. A multi-generational family, bound together by a large family trust, experienced significant sibling conflict in which some voices resonated louder than others. For those who felt disenfranchised, enormous comfort and reassurance was created by counselors who worked in both a ‘family’ and ‘individual household’ capacity, aware of the differences.

We hope this research will begin to lay the groundwork for new thinking and a focus on wealthy women. From our first conversations, we have expanded this project to now include conversations with more women from more social backgrounds around the world. At the same time, we will continue to leverage our existing conversations to deepen our knowledge and share these findings and their implications for different stakeholders.

Request a free PDF copy of Elite Wealth Planning: Lessons from the Super Rich at [email protected]

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