West-coast millionaires looking for multi-family offices

January 15, 2017
Phoenix Marketing International has released its annual report on the quantity and distribution of millionaires in America, a report which may have deep implications for the wealth management industry. While Maryland, Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey, and Alaska remained the top five states for millionaires, the biggest movers were Colorado (+4, now #14), Oregon (+5, now #30), and Montana (+6, now #33). This rise in wealth accumulation has triggered increased interest in the wealth management industry on the West Coast, including an increased focus on Multi-family offices, firms with specialized services aimed at families with assets of at least $25 million.

With most multi-family offices based in the Northeastern United States, industry observers are unsure whether there is an adequate infrastructure to handle families living in California, Hawaii, Alaska, and the Pacific Northwest. Even if one considers the relative ease of travel across the United States, families may feel a disconnect with an advisor from another state who knows little about where their clients live. Chris Walters, Managing Director of GenSpring Family Offices’ Western region, spoke to the importance of personal relationships between clients and the advisors they depend on: “Our clients have very complex lives, and our role is to simplify their lives and give them peace of mind. This extends beyond the typical investment services that many wealth management firms offer.”

Expansion seems like a possibility for MFOs who are affiliated with banks (as GenSpring is with SunTrust) and can benefit from their resources, but may be impossible for smaller firms. This may lead to a wave of mergers in the industry. With rising demand and a changing wealth landscape throughout the country, it is likely that the multi-family office industry will continue to grow and evolve in the future.

Learning the ropes on the slopes

September 29, 2016
Most athletes do not go on to become professionals or Olympians. However, most do take away skills that can be applied to other aspects of their lives, whether professional or personal. Chris Trokey, a ski instructor turned wealth manager, is no exception. While he doesn’t need his poles or skis in his role as managing director of GenSpring Family Office’s Eastern Region, he does apply what he learned as a ski instructor.

“So much of what I do draws from the skills I learned teaching skiing,” says Trokey. “In both skiing and wealth management, you’re working with people who are often facing their fears, and all of whom communicate slightly differently, and it’s your responsibility to figure out how to navigate that successfully.”

Trokey elaborated on the types of concerns he helps his clients address: “I serve ultra-high net worth families, who can often be overwhelmed by the daunting challenge of managing all of their complex financial matters. My job goes beyond managing their money and extends into things like education as well, with the ultimate goal of helping them achieve peace of mind.  We simplify their lives so that when my team has done its job, the clients are able to focus on what’s most important to them.” Trokey says the rewards in wealth management and ski instruction are often similar too: “When you show the client what you’ve done for them and what they can do to ensure they preserve their wealth, it’s the same kind of instant feedback I got when someone I was teaching to ski was able to finally make it down that hill standing up; I love that ‘aha’ moment, where the client realizes: ‘I can do it.’”

Christopher Trokey is the managing director of client services for GenSpring Family Office’s Eastern Region. He previously served as vice president of Tower Hill LLC, and has also served in the Private Wealth Management division of Goldman Sachs. Chris holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting from Indiana University, an MBA in finance from Washington University in St. Louis, and also holds the designations of Chartered Financial Analyst and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst.