Private Portfolio Manager
A family office is, as you are no doubt aware, essentially a private consultancy firm that provides wealth management and associated services to an individual and their family. Often there will be a small team of people involved (although of course this varies – some family offices might be larger, and others consist of just one or two individuals). Common roles within the family office include an in-house lawyer, tax, accounting and finance experts (for example accountants, finance directors, CFO, etc.), a chief of staff, one or more personal assistants (PAs), estate/property managers and portfolio/wealth managers.
Focussing today on portfolio managers, the individual in this role is primarily responsible for finding, researching, creating and managing investments for the principal and their family. This is one of the family office’s primary functions, so necessarily this is a highly responsible role. They might well manage a wider investment team, and oversee a large and complex multi-asset portfolio. As well as being responsible for the overall performance of the fund, they’ll liaise with various private banks, custodians, brokers, and other financial professionals.
A private portfolio manager will likely have established a good deal of experience in the field, often working for a bank or other financial institution prior to moving to a family office. By bringing this real-life experience to the family office, they provide a level of service and knowledge that can’t be emulated by even the most advanced AIs.
Some key attributes include:
- Communication – the principal (and sometimes other family members) will expect to be fully informed about the performance of their investments. This means unpacking complex information into a digestible form and communicating that regularly. This can, of course, include a slice of plain-speaking humility when investments don’t go precisely to plan – for even the most skilled advisers, not all investments are “wins”.
- Analytical skills – the interpretation of data and trends are central to the skills of any portfolio manager.
- Proactivity – financial markets are notoriously fickle. By proactively considering potentially volatile market conditions, better decisions can be made.
- Confidence – this is an important and responsible role. Naturally, having the confidence in their own abilities and trusting of their own judgement is paramount when it comes to investing large sums of the family’s money.
- Organisation – it goes without saying that anyone in this position must be supremely well organised, being able to bring to hand any number of complicated pieces of information as required.
With ultimate responsibility for the investments made by the family office, the portfolio manager is central to its success. Finding and securing the right person for the role is a very important decision.