Family Office

Exclusive: Family Wealth Alliance Shuffling Leadership Roles

Charles Paikert New York February 3, 2022

Exclusive: Family Wealth Alliance Shuffling Leadership Roles

The business-to-business organization, which was founded almost two decades ago, operates in a growing field of groups in the family offices space.

Tom Livergood, founder and CEO of The Family Wealth Alliance, says he’s “getting out of the kitchen but not out of the house.”

As part of what the organization calls a “continuity plan,” Rachel Hyman, currently managing director at FWA, will be named the organization’s first president on Monday, Family Wealth Report has learned.

“This is what’s best for the business,” Livergood said. “Rachel will focus on research, relationship building, strategy and planning and I will concentrate on operations and leadership. Since Rachel joined us two years ago, our revenues and membership has doubled, and members trust us to be their first call. Rachel has been the force behind this.”

Continued growth and customization for members will be a priority for the organization going forward, Hyman said.

“I’d like to see revenues and membership double again within five years,” Hyman said. “And as we continue to serve members, we stress that not one size fits all. We ask members what they’re looking to gain from membership and customize a plan for each firm.”

The Chicago-based Family Wealth Alliance, which Livergood founded in 2003 as a business-to-business organization for wealth management firms catering to wealthy families, doesn’t lack for competition.

FWA’s main rival, the Family Office Exchange (FOX), also based in Chicago, was founded in 1989 by Sara Hamilton and offers membership to both wealth management firms and wealthy families. Hamilton also announced a succession plan last fall, stepping aside for Peter Moustakerski to become CEO but remaining as board chair.

There is also a plethora of peer-to-peer organizations targeting wealthy families and the ultra-high net worth market, including The Institute for Private Investors (IPI); Family Office Association, Forge, The UHNW Institute; Tiger 21; R360, (Michael Cole’s new venture) and The ImPact, which works with wealthy families interested in impact investing.

Business model
FWA’s B-to-B business model has given the organization “a big competitive advantage,” in the crowded field, according to Hyman.

“There’s no conflict of interest and it differentiates us,” she said. “Firms don’t feel they have to position themselves for potential clients. It removes the competitive factor and they feel they can open up and share things with each other that you wouldn’t think they would.”

FWA’s B-to-B positioning has helped the organization carve out a distinctive niche, industry executives agreed.

“The FWA filled a void that others did not directly serve,” said industry consultant Jamie McLaughlin.  

Bringing wealth management and MFO firms together “in an unconflicted environment” has been a “remarkable accomplishment,” according to Kristi Kuechler, another industry veteran who is now a senior director at The ImPact and was president of IPI and managing director of the Investor Market for FOX.

Kudos and challenges
FWA member Andy Busser, president of Pitcairn’s Family Office, applauded the organization for “putting on thoughtful events that make it easy for people to learn and have meaningful interactions” and industry research “that helps us all with strategic prioritization.” 

Hyman, formerly a consultant and MBA admission officer for the Kellog School of Management, received a strong endorsement from FWA member Kara Pass, president and CEO of Market Street Trust Company.  

“Rachel’s been phenomenal and has done a remarkable job with custom membership,” Pass said. “She’s been great at understanding our unique situation and strategizing how we can add the most value.”

Looking ahead, Livergood said he will continue to work closely with Hyman, but also spend more time on his latest venture, Bespoke Advocate, a matchmaking service for firms and families looking for advisors.

The FWA’s biggest challenge in the years ahead will be one faced by all membership organizations, according to Kuechler: the available bandwidth of members and potential members.

“Competition for their time and attention will be their biggest issue,” she said.

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