Unlocking Excellence in Family Offices

This white paper dives into a detailed explanation of how iPaladin's Digital Family Office operating system provides a collaboration ecosystem that empowers professionals and the family to deliver greater clarity, consistency, and control over all elements of the family business.

iPaladin was born from a belief that knowledge work requires a new kind of technology. Knowledge powers the modern economy. But most technology tools struggle to capture, organize and operationalize knowledge in a coherent way. As a result, knowledge workers are forced to work in information silos that limit collaboration, create risk, and undermine value creation. iPaladin creates technology that captures, stores and shares this information, unlocking the true potential of knowledge workers for the benefit of individuals and society.

Digital Family Office (DFO)

DFO is the bridge between professionals and the family. It sits above the reporting level, capturing all operational knowledge in a single, secure space. Powered by blockchain technology, and built with military-grade security, DFO unites, connects and protects all elements of family business. Equipped with a single, sharable and immutable source of truth, professionals can be unlocked to deliver maximum value, and the family can be reassured by absolute clarity and control over their wealth.

Working With Our Team

We see ourselves as a fiduciary partner to our clients. We offer a highly consultative approach from onboarding through to implementation and ongoing account management. Our team will help you to design operations, address historical inaccuracies and create customized and repeatable processes that maximize the value of your resources. Together, we can help you unlock excellence and run a more productive family office digitally.

The Problem of Friction in Family Offices

Key Takeaways

  • Family offices are comprised of world-class professionals, but time and resources are often diverted to risk mitigation rather than value maximization. We call this friction.
  • Friction is the result of data gaps and information silos that emerge through the use of disparate technology tools that aren't designed to work with each other.
  • Friction undermines excellence, weakening fiduciary control and governance, meaning the opportunities to grow wealth are missed and unnecessary risks are introduced into the ecosystem.

A family office is a unique entity comprising multi-disciplinary teams of professionals, advisors and family members, all working together towards a common goal: to maintain, manage and maximize great wealth.

Yet, despite this clear objective, these world-class teams of experts and professionals often find that time and resources are diverted away from value creation and instead shifted towards risk mitigation. This is largely the result of friction.

Friction is anything that interrupts your workflow. It can be as simple as not being able to readily locate the document you need to complete your next task. It can be as complex as trying to make sense of a historic transaction with crucial information or documentation now missing.

In a family office environment, friction puts the brakes on value creation by diverting time, money and resources towards unproductive tasks. It undermines fiduciary oversight and control and increases security risks.

But friction is not about people, it’s about processes:often the result of legacy technology that prevents data being stored in an intuitive, centralized and controllable way. Friction is a function of data gaps and information silos.

The mindset behind the wave of technological innovation that we’ve seen in recent decades has changed little since the 1980s. The most popular tools that we rely on are based on a traditional database mindset - an approach that allows individuals to capture, store and organize data in personal information silos, but with little support for sharing, collaboration or transparency. A fact highlighted by the reliance that most workplaces still place on email as a sharing tool.

The problem has been exacerbated by technology companies embedding this approach into their product development cycle. Each iteration is built on the last, funneling users into a specific way of working and widening the compatibility gulf with alternative providers. While many technology firms talk about personalization, it is often only offered on their terms.

This creates a unique problem in a family office ecosystem.Professionals - often comprising experts across a variety of disciplines including law, accounting and investments - are hired for their functional capabilities. But these specialists rely on their own processes, approaches, and technology to complete their operational roles.

Working to different timescales, in different formats, and with data residing in different locations, this fragmented approach can lead to the emergence of data gaps and information silos. It makes it difficult to gain a complete picture of the entire wealth ecosystem, undermining fiduciary control and diverting valuable time, resources and money towards locating critical information rather than acting on it.

For the family, this can mean that opportunities to grow wealth can be overlooked, that both financial and human resources are wasted, and that regulatory and security risks can emerge.

Tackling Friction with a Culture of Collaboration

Key Takeaways

  • To overcome friction, family offices need a "common language" of collaboration. This can be achieved by treating wealth as a data management problem.
  • By focusing on data governance, family members and professionals can focus on the evidence in front of them, spending less time plugging data gaps.
  • Building a collaboration ecosystem for wealth data doesn't require an overhaul of existing tools.

The antidote to friction is collaboration. Collaboration is an innate human skill; it's what allows us to solve complex problems, build mutual understanding and reach common goals. As Henry Ford said, "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." And this is true today as it was when the Model T was first introduced.

In a family office environment, creating a culture of collaboration relies on creating a “common language” between all participants, regardless of their skillset or proximity to the family.

One way to achieve this is to think about wealth management as a data management problem. Wealth is amassed over generations - sometimes centuries - and is entrenched in securities, contracts and companies. Each nothing more than a data point in the vast and complex web that makes up family wealth.

By treating wealth information as data, all family business can be normalized, centralized and categorized in a coherent and intelligible way, not only providing a single-source of truth for all professionals to work from, but also providing the historic context that can inform decision-making and improve governance.

Creating the Collaboration Level

But this is only part of the equation. To truly benefit from a data-first mindset, all participants need a centralized location where operational knowledge can be captured, shared and evolved in a single, secure space. We refer to this as the collaboration level. The collaboration level is a proposed new layer in the family office structure.

Far from requiring root and branch reform, it simply acts asa bridge between the existing operational level and the strategic governance level.

By normalizing all family business as data, and capturing and storing it in a single, secure workspace - wealth holders and their advisors can work together to develop workflows and processes that reduce the need for “data chasing”, instead freeing up time and resources to focus on value maximization.

Unlocking Excellence with Digital Family Office

Key Takeaways

  • Families already employ world-glass professionals, unlocking excellence is about removing friction from the process.
  • Tools like iPaladin's Digital Family Office create collaboration ecosystems that unite and connect all elements of family business, removing the need to "chase data".
  • This creates a new normal where decisions can be made from a single, up-to-date source of truth, where information is protected for generations to come, and new levels of productivity can be unlocked.

If collaboration is the antidote to friction, then a collaboration level is the arena where excellence is unlocked. Tools like iPaladin’s Digital Family Office provide a collaboration ecosystem that empowers both professionals and the family, delivering greater clarity, consistency and control over all elements of family business.

But DFO isn’t just a technology platform. Through intentional design, DFO elevates the operations of the family office by promoting genuine collaboration to support transparency, truth and value creation.

Here are three ways that DFO can unlock excellence within your family office.

1. Excellence in Decision Making - A Single Source of Truth

By leveraging the power of DFO, families and professionals alike can harness the value of infinite workflow. Powered by a single, shareable and immutable source of truth, professionals can be unlocked to deliver maximum value, and the family can be reassured by absolute clarity and control over their wealth.

2. Excellence in Document Management - A Digital Memory

Powered by blockchain technology, DFO is an intuitive way to organize and chronicle data, creating a digital memory of family business for the benefit of today’s generation, and generations yet to come.

3. Excellence in Security - A Digital Fort Knox

Our one-way in, one-way out architecture and customizable controls provide DFO with military-grade security, protecting family records and data from external threats.

A Culture of Governance Excellence

Taken together, these attributes support not only a culture of collaboration, but also a culture of governance excellence. Wealth holders are once again placed in control of their wealth, those with fiduciary responsibility are empowered to make the right decisions, and the world-class professionals within the family office are unlocked to deliver their true value. This is what true digitization can bring to family offices. We believe it's the future.

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"iPaladin is way more than a project management software. It really has changed everything for the better."

2022, Brad S., MFO Founder/CEO

"When we started using iPaladin we actually found a handful of errors that the previous teams didn't catch."

2022, Susan L., Principal Accounting Advisor

"Our team loves the way the system is designed. It's really simple and not overly decorative, it's straightforward and familiar."

2021, Tebbi P., SFO Office Leader

"iPaladin is way more than a project management software. It really has changed everything for the better."

2019, Scott W. SFO Executive

"iPaladin has helped us automate our everyday work and we've gained about 30-40% more time because everyone is on the same page from the beginning."

2021, James K., Partner MFO Business Leader