Surveys

Upheavals, New Risks: What Grabs UHNW Families' Attention – Study

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 13 November 2023

Upheavals, New Risks: What Grabs UHNW Families' Attention – Study

The family office examines the non-financial and financial concerns that clients have, ranging from asset allocation in an uncertain world, through to how to protect privacy in a world of social media.

A proprietary survey of almost 300 people by UK-based multi-family office Stonehage Fleming finds that for the first time since it began researching these issues in 2013, the investment environment and political risk are seen as the top two threats to protecting wealth.

The survey, conducted between 20 April and 20 July 2023, assessed the impact of events such as the pandemic, war in Ukraine, slowing economic growth and accelerating inflation on the long-term sustainability of family wealth.

“Our Four Pillars of Capital research has taught us that our clients like to have insight into what their peers are thinking and how they have addressed – or are addressing – the challenges and opportunities that they have in common,” Giuseppe Ciucci, chairman and chief executive at Stonehage Fleming, said. “Observations from our 2023 report have reinforced the importance of preparing the Next Generation to assume the responsibilities of wealth and employing a simple and rigorous process for risk appraisal. Other important themes included the vital importance of understanding your digital profile in today’s world, the potential rewards of involving the Next Generation in philanthropy and the need for clear and effective communication between family members.”

The family office examines the non-financial and financial concerns that clients have, ranging from asset allocation in an uncertain world, through to how to protect privacy in a world of social media.

The 64-page report identifies four "pillars of capital": financial capital, intellectual capital, social capital and cultural capital.


Reputation threats
Among the topics was the challenge of managing reputations in a time of social media and the public launches of AI-enabled text, audio and image generation services that can produce “deepfakes.”

The study showed that 43 per cent of respondents have no formal process for managing the reputation of their family or its members and only 13 per cent of respondents say they actively track their family’s digital footprint. 

“We are surprised by the data showing how few families are conscious of the digital risks they may encounter. In an age of increased transparency, it is almost impossible to be proudly anonymous. With the complexity that social media brings, it is harder than ever to control the narrative. A digital health check is a sensible element of a comprehensive risk management strategy,” Guy Hudson, partner and head of group marketing and communications said.

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