If you’re managing every aspect of your client’s financial life, you may be liable if something goes wrong, especially if you have a fiduciary relationship.
Recognizing that, a Canadian insurer has launched a suite of insurance coverage specifically for family offices.
“Family office directors, officers and executives face complex liability exposures,” says Cameron Rose, a senior vice-president at Chubb in Canada, in a release. “They are charged with adhering to a high level of fiduciary care in managing their high-net-worth clients’ wealth and assets. Failure to adhere to these fiduciary duties can result in costly litigation.”
Read: When to use a client advisory board
Chubb’s Family Office Amplifier coverage addresses professional liability, trustee liability and employment practices liability. The product defines an organization as “any trust, in addition to family office; subsidiary of the family office; private funds, including management entities such as general partners, managing members and advisors; and investment holding companies of any trust or private fund.”
As reported by Jessica Bruno earlier this year, family offices are gaining in popularity since they provide a one-stop shop for wealthy clients. But advisors can’t always do it all: an EY guide on family offices notes that outsourcing is wise if the task requires a specialist, or if having someone else handle it will cut costs through economies of scale.
“Any time you start doing things you’re not good at because your client asked you to, you’re going to end up doing them poorly,” says Joel Clark, CEO of KJ Harrison and Partners in Toronto, told us. “It’s important for the client to know, ‘Here are the things we do because we’re really good at [them].’ ” On the flip side, EY suggests keeping a task in-house if doing so would preserve your client’s privacy, would give your client more control or it’s within your expertise.