‘We’re very lucky to still be a family-owned and family-controlled business, with all the rigour of a FTSE 100 company, but the entrepreneurial spirit and innovation of a family office at its heart.’ That’s the assessment of Clare Anderson, UK head of Schroders Family Office Service, of the unique ownership structure which sets the Schroders Family Office Service team apart.
A ‘very long-term view’
The 43 per cent stake in Schroders held by the Schroder family enables Anderson and her team to take a ‘very long-term view’, she says. ‘There are families I can think of that have been clients of ours for over 70 years.’
Amid sweeping social and economic challenges, many of the nearly 200 families of ‘family office scale’ supported by the team are now reassessing their long-term strategies. For Samuel Bosanquet, director of family office services, working out how UHNW families can achieve their aims and navigate successful handovers is ‘number one on the priority list’. As members of the next generation of these families come through, it’ll be a ‘big change, but it’s going to be fantastic for those families’, he says.
Where larger families have ‘complicated needs’, there has been a drive to ‘professionalise’ in recent years – and to formalise some existing family governance policies, says Charlotte Filsell, who heads the family office services team in the UK, having joined the business when it acquired Sandaire three years ago. But it’s just as important that Schroders can fulfil the role of a single family office ‘for those families who may not wish to have their own family office’, she adds.
‘We can also support existing family offices by augmenting the resources they have internally,’ Filsell says. The team has taken advantage of the latest enhancements in technology with a new ‘toolkit’ that consolidates and simplifies reporting for a family office’s entire asset base – a platform that is offered to all clients.
Meanwhile, a series of key partnerships has positioned Schroders as a global leader in family office expertise. Earlier this year the firm partnered with the London Business School to support their inaugural family office conference, conveying an impressive array of senior family office representatives and academics from around the world.
‘There were fantastic roundtables,’ says Bosanquet. ‘A really broad range of subjects were covered, from psychology to how families can make the most of their charitable giving.’ The team has funded research by the Impact Investing Institute, with Schroders working on a project to further understand the ‘obstacles, accelerators and practical considerations’ around impact decisions.
What’s most rewarding for Anderson, she says, are ‘all the times the team pulls together to overcome the hurdles faced by families to help them thrive’.