It’s Hard to Find Good Help, but That’s Not Your Problem

Wealthy families need all kinds of help — not just with their finances but with aspects of their personal lives, including household staffing. But the mere fact clients need help vetting and hiring domestics doesn’t mean their wealth managers should pile into the breach, ThinkAdvisor writes.

Since 2008, the number of families with at least $100 million in assets has grown 42% worldwide, according to a Boston Consulting Group report cited by ThinkAdvisor. All that money — plus the houses, cars and everything else it buys — requires a lot of staff. But it’s an aspect of the client’s life advisors should approach with caution, says Teresa Leigh of Household Risk Management. “Wealth managers do not want to crack Pandora’s box of opening something they cannot solve,” she tells ThinkAdvisor.

Todd Kesterson, family-office services director for the CPA firm Kaufman Rossin, agrees. Beyond all the
moving parts — some families employ dozens of people, from gardeners to majordomos, mail openers and property managers — there are matchmaking or “chemistry” judgments to make for anyone who wants to help with the help, he tells the Web publication.

Luckily, wealth managers can direct their high-net-worth clients to staffing resources for their needs, rather than handle it on their own, ThinkAdvisor points out. In addition to firms like Leigh’s, which Morgan Stanley refers to its richest clients, there are companies that insure the rich against lawsuits from the help, reports the publication. AIG Private Client Group, for instance, sells supplemental coverage for claims of sexual harassment, wrongful termination and discrimination.

Todd Kesterson, CPA, is a Family Office Services Principal at Kaufman Rossin, one of the Top 100 CPA and advisory firms in the U.S.