Recruitment consultant Mark Somers believes in the power of family capital – to be more precise, family offices that use the right people to invest for the long term.
He argues family offices can become family capital businesses, generating superior returns over 50, or 100, years by employing high-quality investment teams and advisers.
To outline the trend, and explain how to build a durable family office, Somers has written a 290-page book, Family Office Fundamentals, which shows how human capital plays a crucial role in the development.
In contrast to institutional groupthink, family offices can broaden their search for talent by casting the net wide.
They have the opportunity to mentor the next generation in developing fledgling businesses, often in the sustainable sector, which provides them with the passion for moving their family office forward, decade by decade.
Uniquely, the book also celebrates the potential of neurodiverse individuals who have made an immense contribution to starting, and developing, businesses, across the world.
Examples of dyslexic uber-achievers include Steve Jobs (Apple), Ingvar Kamprad (Ikea) and William Hewlett (HP). There are many more, and talent can pop up again over the generations – an extra resource for family offices to draw on. Other renowned dyslexics would include Albert Einstein, George Washington and Pablo Picasso. Their success is no fluke. Read more on the subject in an extract from the book, here.
But you can’t staff an entire family office with neurodiversity They need a nurturing environment, and family offices also require a mix of talents for their own reasons. It requires an efficient succession and appropriate pay – also covered in the book.
Somers argues that family offices need to draw on advice from talented rainmakers, backed by people in operations, which he calls lawn mowers. He warns against well-poisoners driven by self-interest, whose penetration of the citadel can lead to inefficiency, or worse. Family offices with access to the right talent will each compound growth which can become truly impressive over time.
Somers, founder of the Somers Partnership, says: “We know that having the right mix of skilled human capital is essential for successfully managing financial capital. The book highlights the importance of diverse teams, which reflect the characteristics of the principals and beneficiaries they serve.”
In reviewing the book, senior family office adviser Jay Hughes agrees with the importance of human capital: “If a family sees its wealth as financial capital and fails to see it as the well-being of its members, then assuredly the universal cultural proverb, shirt sleeves to short sleeves in three generations will be its fate.”
Family Office Fundamentals is available for sale @Somers.Partnership from 27 March. Mark Somers is a top 100 Family Capital influencer.