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Want a Job Running a Family Office? Here's How to Get it

By Alex Padalka January 11, 2019

Family offices are increasingly looking for potential leaders who exhibit not just business acumen but serious soft skills as well, according to a recent report.

More than 50% of family offices say that expertise at managing family dynamics is the number-one skill they look for in the head of a family office, according to a new report from Northern Trust Global Family Office and Private Investment Offices Group and the Wharton Global Family Alliance.

Family offices are favoring business expertise and emotional intelligence over age and seniority when looking for new leaders, according to the report, which polled family offices across 17 countries, with 40% of the offices managing more than $1 billion.

Family offices are also investing more heavily in educational programs this year compared to the year prior, and are often turning to private banks to help prepare their next leaders, the researchers found.

Expertise in regulatory matters and capital markets remains a prerequisite when looking for talent, but family offices are increasingly turning to personal referrals. From 2014 to 2017, there was close to a 50% drop in the use of headhunters and vendors for recruiting, according to the survey.

And with high demand for experienced family office employees, prospects are increasingly receiving offers of non-monetary incentives such as favorable work environments and benefits, the researchers found.

When it comes to where family offices are investing these days, private as well as public equity is on the rise while fixed income and hedge funds have dropped year over year, according to the survey. And over the past three years, 42% of family offices have participated in exclusive co-investing deals without the help of a private equity outfit, the researchers found.