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Book Review by Dr Linda S Spedding, International Lawyer and Adviser London 12 February 2020

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Family Offices

The STEP Handbook for Advisers Second Edition

Consulting Editor Barbara R. Hauser

Published in 2019 by Global Law and Business Ltd

ISBN 9781787422810

EPUB ISBN 9781787422780

Adobe PDF ISBN 9781787422797

Mobi ISBN9781787422803

This publication deals with the increasingly important issue of Family Offices and is of major value to law firms and practitioners as a resource that provides interdisciplinary practical guidance from well respected international practitioners.

The second edition of the Handbook provides an extremely comprehensive approach to the very significant area of Family Offices that is of international breadth. It provides excellent insight that allows advisers to have a thorough grasp of the background and meaning of the concept of the Family Office. The handbook includes the growing trends that affect this field, especially as the topic of wealth management becomes increasingly relevant in today’s complex world. The Contents enable practitioners a holistic understanding as they extend beyond the decisions relating to the establishment and governance of the family office. Selected topics include the choice of jurisdiction, with a discussion of selected key jurisdictions, as well as the vital related concerns such as recruitment, technology, risk and crisis management, values, culture, succession and life cycle.

This publication allows an understanding of how the Family Office may evolve in the face of various changes and challenges so that it can be successful, resilient and sustainable. Upcoming trends are also covered, such as the concept of the Virtual Family Office and the relevance of philanthropy. Indeed, the selected jurisdictions are reflective of various global developments in wealth management: they include Australia, Bermuda, Canada, the Gulf States, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Through the insights provided by leading experts in the relevant areas of family culture, communication, resilience and wellbeing the Family Office Handbook is a useful holistic tool. It can be used by practitioners when advising on interdisciplinary best practice and excellence. As such it provides a sustainable approach that transcends current generations and highlights significant concerns given the dilemma that most family wealth only survives for three generations. Moreover the inclusion of the discussion over the growing relevance of philanthropy that is also a global trend is very insightful.

Apart from the availability of extremely useful practical strategies and practice hints and tips, the Handbook is a resource of helpful information and guidance which include: specimen family office  constitutions; mission statements; structures; sample crisis management headings; wealth education; and an approach to integrated risk management analysis. Not only are the potential problems that arise in the context of Family Offices assessed but also solutions are offered that deal with practitioners’ frequently asked questions. Further references and citations, as well as signposts for more resources, are mentioned that save vital time as and when require.

Whether using the Family Office Handbook as a comprehensive overview to be read in one sitting and/or as an ongoing resource to delve into, this is a Volume that, in my view, is an excellent timely investment for those dealing with the Family Office, wherever they are established. I would recommend that this second edition of the Family Office Handbook should be in the library of all concerned practitioners.

Dr Linda S Spedding is an International Lawyer and Adviser, qualified as a Solicitor (England and Wales), Advocate (India) and Attorney at Law (USA). She has worked at the Legal Service of the European Commission and in matters before the European Court. She provides consultancy to law firms and clients in the private and public sectors, as well as in the not for profit sector. She has advised, trained and spoken on wealth management and succession, business risk management, including guidance on responsible, ethical and transparent trade, business and family relationships. She has been a mentor to individuals and firms in the legal profession, as well as an informal mediator in various dispute scenarios.

Dr Speddings writings have been published extensively, in the U.K., USA and Europe. Her publications include: Transnational Legal Practice in The EEC and the USA; Eco- Management and Eco-Auditing Guide;  A guide on Environmental Management for Business;  A European Environmental Liability Guide; A professional Guide to Wills, Succession and Estate Planning; Succession Law Textbook and Casebook; Trade and Investment in India; Due Diligence and Corporate Governance Handbook; Sustainable Business Risk Management Handbook and Reputation Risk Management Handbook. She  is an international contributor to FDI in India and to a Legal Risk Management Guide. She has also been editors to a series on Due Diligence and Risk Management. Her most recent publication is India: the business Opportunity, which is currently being updated. For further details see www.lindaspedding.org