Where Family Offices Will Be Hiring

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Portfolio managers, client service staff and tax and estate planning professionals may find increased job opportunities among family wealth offices this year, while outsourcing of IT work may increase.

Post-Madoff, the need to more thoroughly investigate investment vehicles could mean beefing up "due diligence" staff - portfolio analysts who scrutinize the performance and integrity of hedge funds and other investment firms that seek to manage assets for wealthy families. Family offices also may hire more in-house portfolio managers and rely less on outsourcing that particular role, Family Wealth Report says in its 2010 outlook for the sector.

"Many ultra-high net worth families realized that they over outsourced the management of their assets," Norman Jones, chief executive of Denver-based Wealth Touch, told the publication. Recruiter Allan Starkie of Knightsbridge Advisors predicts "a very large movement back to proprietary product" that will give family offices "new form of branding" and a way to demonstrate accountability for investment performance. That could create job openings for portfolio managers and investment analysts.

In addition, wealthy families' increasing concern with safety and security of their managed assets points toward more hiring of client service, performance measurement and other due-diligence professionals. And expected tax law changes boost the need for financial planners skilled in estate planning and other areas of special concern to the ultra-wealthy.

Outsourcing Non-Core Functions

Good client-facing private bankers will be in demand too, as they always have been. But advisers seeking employment within a family office, be forewarned: the industry's selectivity and focus on cultural fit makes hiring a protracted process.

Among support roles, the hiring outlook for IT staff appears less positive than for due-diligence and client-service people. As a non-core competency, IT is more vulnerable than ever to outsourcing, in the family wealth management sphere just as elsewhere in the economy.

"Both single family and multifamily offices are critically evaluating their cost structure in light of reduced revenues," says Jones. "Key questions are being asked, such as 'Should we have a large IT department?' 'Are we safe maintaining our own security infrastructure?' and 'Do we really need an office on Fifth Avenue?'"

One further trend worth noting: Multi-family offices are set to gain ground and in some cases absorb single-family counterparts, Family Wealth Report says.

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