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EP: 47 – Bruno Doutrelepont: The Purpose and Value of the Family Office

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Bruno Doutrelepont

Introduction: Bruno Doutrelepont is a Private Investor and CEO at Even Keel Partners Investment Office. He is also a director of Genius Evolve and Non-Executive Director for Winterhaven holdings.  Bruno is a regular keynote speaker at International Conferences for Family Offices and Institutional Investors in places like Monaco, Geneva, London and Dubai.

Show Notes

Podcast episode Summary: There exists a lot of confusion about the nature and purpose of a Family Office Business. Bruno shared his definition.  To safeguard the capital of the family business and enhance the quality of life for all members of the family. Essentially Bruno is integrating a very fine balance between the team that is the family and his team at Even Keel along with the many other suppliers who are involved to support the mission of the Family Business.

 

Points made throughout the Episode:

  • Important to distinguish the purpose and mission of the family office. It is not well known or established here in Ireland.
  • At Even Keel the mission is to safeguard and enhance the capital of the family while at the same time advancing the quality of life for all members.
  • Varied and complex skill set required to serve a family office. It is a finely balanced integration of multiple teams, the Family, the Financiers and many suppliers.
  • Important to have a thorough understanding of Family and group dynamics. Each family is unique.
  • Various and important issues have to be dealt with in the course of managing a Family As an example the wealth creator often finds is hard to “let-go” even when he/she is keen to share wealth with his/her family
  • Habitual story or worry that the first generation will make the money, the second generation will spend it and the third will have none left.
  • Important to remember that the Family takes precedence over almost any consideration. A Family Office has to be able to navigate family values and dynamics
  • There is a definite process and often a long one to establish a rhythm of working with a Family.
  • This often means many and several 1;1 conversations to help all members of family express their desires.
  • The international nature of the World widens the considerations involved especially when Children travel, study abroad etc. This degree of globalisation impacts the selection of services providers and the appropriate investment strategy to be deployed.
  • Extremely challenging to select people to be part of the Family Business. One quality is paramount; Emotional Intelligence
  • Emotional intelligence supports financiers to be with the varied and sometimes exasperating twists and turns in decision making. Excellent work does not always amount to a decision made
  • The Family has the prerogative to change its mind. It can feel like rejection and it is important that the team within the family office do not take things personally.
  • The business is varied, compelling, complex often with a steep learning curve. It is not for the faint hearted.
  • Covid-19 has meant some investment decisions have been stalled and significant pivoting has been required.
  • The SME sector has been particularly affected. Bruno admires the loyalty and dedication to staff seen by many business owners here in Ireland.
  • Even Keel is used to working remotely. Covid-19 has however contributed to fatigue, exhaustion and emotional overwhelm for some. Important to be able to flexible and allow people determine their own rhythms in these times.
  • Circuit breakers are often required. Humour is too.
  • The conversation pivoted into Leadership. Bruno shared his thinking and practices to ground his approach. Important to disconnect, find nature, taking time out to appreciate small things and enjoy conversations.
  • Every day relations often provide stimulus for ideas.
  • Bruno concluded conversation by sharing story of his two daughters aged 6 and 12. They are burgeoning entrepreneurs in their own right- he shared how they created Christmas Baubles to sell for two charities and raised over €10,000
  • Family is everything.

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