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Why do family business advisers need the Family Business Institute?

By Jon Kenfield
Founder and Chair, Family Business Institute

FBI trains, accredits, markets and supports experienced professional advisers who work with business families and private clients. Our programs offer what is currently, by far, the most thorough and advanced family business adviser training available on this side of the world.

Conventional professional training develops specialised knowledge and technical skills. Family businesses require more. Combining family with business brings relationships and emotion squarely into the equation, making the advisory process far more complicated and challenging. For those advisers able to identify the opportunities and respond appropriately, there’s a wealth of possibilities for new work – almost entirely in areas that can’t be outsourced, technologised or commoditised out of commercial viability.

To access this work, most advisers need to add relevant human skills to their existing technical skills, and be able to deliver them according to a comprehensive Family Business Best Practice Model. FBI provides all necessary training, plus appropriate practice tools, and encourages collaboration with complementary professionals who’ve undergone similar training, and use the same approaches and language.

Beyond training and accreditation, FBI provides ongoing, active practice development, marketing and personal/professional support. We’ve created an unashamedly elite network of advisers who genuinely trust each other enough to collaborate effectively and refer work to each other. This is precisely what’s happening with our Foundation Group, and the workflows will increase as our numbers, reputation and internet presence grow.

Beyond the learnings, there’s a specific rationale behind our intense, 12 day Accreditation Program: people get to know, like and trust each other through our team building and teamwork activities. Written assignments, completed in multi-disciplinary groups, add to the collaborative impetus.

By way of practical example: our latest resource tool (available to members free of charge as part of their membership subscription) is a detailed job description for the role of Executive Director of a Private Family Office ($20M in investable assets, including active businesses and passive investments). It expands the range of services some of our advisers currently offer to relatively wealthy clients who are considering establishing Private Family Offices, using a family member as their Executive Director. Said family members rarely have all the knowledge, skills or experience they need for the job, so there’s a great ongoing opportunity for providing training, facilitating, coaching and mentoring services – a spectacular opportunity for the right adviser!

Last year I went to the FFI (Family Firm Institute) conference in Miami to benchmark what FBI’s doing against FFI’s thinking, programs and standards. FFI is undeniably the world leader in family business adviser education. We’re offering a different model of training and more active, continuing marketing and other support to our members. As a result, there’s a group of FFI members talking about organising an FBI Accreditation Program in the USA, in 2018.

We live in exciting times!


Written by Family Business Institute

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