$1 Billion+ Families & Reality

$1 Billion+ Families & Reality

by Richard C. Wilson & Family Offices Group Association Team

Global Perception of $1 Billion+ Families & Reality:  I recently traveled to London to discuss co-investment opportunities with a $2B & a $5B+ family, and while In town I recorded a BBC World News TV interview on $1B+ families and their single family offices.  Much of the interview focused on why these families are not spending more of their money to help the economy, the perceptions of the ultra-wealthy, and what it is like to work with them every day.  This book is not focused on these topics of public perception or political views but I do think some important points came out of the show’s discussion which include:

  • None of these families interviewed in my book and not a single one that I have met to date has came into wealth through pure good fortune, such as winning the lottery, or finding gold on their horse ranch, etc…almost all of them have all started and grown successful businesses and worked long hours over a long period of time.
  • While family offices and $1B+ families are seen sometimes as secretive, hard-to-access, and under-the-radar, they are everywhere.  They are behind the charities we hear about, backing the venture capital funds, owning the sports teams we cheer for, and refining the oil going into our cars.  They are omnipresent yet someone secretive at the same time.
  • Part of the interview focused on what it is like to work with these families.  As I explained on-air I have found them all to be highly professional, respectful of time, and while very busy they do take time to identify high-quality partners and products starting with what their peers refer to them as high quality resources.  I also think it is important to note that while these families have excess wealth, if you can provide genuine insight on your area of niche expertise you have a knowledge-currency they don’t have and in that way are often see as valuable to their team despite that you may not have $100M or $1B yourself.
  • Most newspaper headlines on the ultra-wealthy focus on wasted money, crashed Ferrari’s, family disputes, or other negative aspects of being very wealthy.  There are many family disputes, but what goes on with these families is far from what the media portrays and is not consistently negative.  Some may disagree, and this is as political as I ever get, but I believe as a society we are playing the game of capitalism and with the exception of a few corrupt politically connected billionaires, the rest of these individuals are winners of this global game that we play.  They should be studied, learned from, respected, and seen as such.

I hope you enjoyed this short post, it is an excerpt from my soon-to-be-released book The Single Family Office: Creating, Operating, & Managing Investments of a Single Family Office.

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