In private family office security, clients don’t necessarily know what they need or they might not even understand the gravity of their situation if they are unprepared. This is where you come in as a security provider to help them make changes and be aware of the risk they might put themselves in.
As the industry grows, we have to grow with it and do what we can to minimize issues within families and people around it. So, in this article, we will explore in depth what are some of the more important parts of private family office security and learn more about why it’s even more relevant than in the past.
Private family offices deal with one family and each family impacts how their family office will be set up. This decision is usually influenced by a single family member, usually the head of that family, or by two or three members. The general practices depend on the risk they are in on a daily basis.
Usually, these are all high-net-worth families who are very well-known to the public, or they have an influential head of the family.
They can be CEOs, A-listers, executives, media moguls, and other famous people. Since we are talking about family offices, there are usually multiple principals that need protection and guidance.
This is a very different protection practice and it’s on a much smaller level, than a corporation, let’s say. In a corporation, you have a CEO as a principal, or at the most, you have a Co-CEO to protect.
Also, when you work in a big company, they have its rules, regulations, policies, and culture which you can be aware of, but they are not your main focus, the principal is. You can rarely see this in a private family office security, so you have to be way more sensitive and careful in your approach to them.
How to Make a Plan
The protection of different family members also has different measures. The wife and kids could have a completely contrasting plan then the husband, which means that these measures have to be approached individually.
In the current climate, the more wealth you have the more at risk you are. Risk profiling concerns the entire structure of the family and everyone around it. This is why your risk assessment has to be integrated into every element of your family office.
To mitigate that risk, your policy has to be unbreakable, and for that to happen, an agent has to know the family inside out. Those little nuances can make the difference you need in order to be successful. You also need to know the problem areas within the family, for example:
- Problematic children,
- Risks in succession,
- Wealth distribution and other.
In private family office security, a lot of people think that because you have worked in the celebrity world, corporations, or high-risk situations you can also figure out immediately how to work in a family office. As I said, every family is different so you adapt to their rules and schedule, which might not be something you are used to.
I think that there are few companies and security providers who have specialized their service palettes to actually build something that you need in private family offices.
Of course, people will try to sell you and provide you with all kinds of assessments and reports and get you these paper products, but they deliver the same cookie-cutter approach when they deliver the manpower. It’s very rare for someone to go out there and recruit and train EP agents to work in family offices specifically.
How Can Agents Adapt to The Family
EP in general is always male-dominated and that’s because we can’t find enough women that would work in this industry. I think female agents constitute only about 5-10% of the industry – perhaps even less.
That is a shame because female agents are very welcome in private family offices. The industry’s male-dominated reputation may deter them from ever pursuing this job. The reason for this is that their male counterparts may have better opportunities for work.
Sometimes it can be hard to recruit the right type of agents because some of these private family offices don’t know what type of agent they need. There is also a tendency of wanting to recruit these high-speed agents that just came from a very dangerous assignment.
Once these agents start working, they might sit outside of the school for eight hours or go on vacation with the family where they have to go to water parks or Disneyland, so it doesn’t always fit. You can also find these agents that get hired into a private family office and if they are older people, they typically dress like older people.
All of a sudden, they are looking after a sixteen-year-old girl, a daughter of a fashion mogul and they go to a party for another sixteen-year-old girl’s birthday where everybody is dressed to impress. So, this agent is sticking out like a sore thumb dressed in slacks and a coat like they are in the sixties.
There are definitely a lot of things to think about in private family offices that you don’t get to even mention in corporations.
Quantity AND Quality
There is also a question of how many bodyguards or teams a family might need. For example, if the principal travels a lot, he would of course have a team of maybe three or four agents with him, but what happens if there aren’t enough people at the house and a robbery or an assassination attempt happens?
This is why security providers need to think in advance and recommend to the principal or principles that there has to be a residential team at the house at all times because if potential attackers find out that the principal is not at home and they know the security went with him, they might make an attempt.
It’s why protection is important and having a plan and enough manpower is one of the main things you should discuss within days of arriving at the family office.
As we saw, these days anything can be a threat to the family’s security and it’s you and our job to prevent that and have counteractive measures in place which can stop any attack and attempt.
So, make sure you talk to the family and your agents and come up with a solution that will work for everyone. Remember, every family member is different – but they are all equally important!
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