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Virtual Family Office "VFO"

The Summa Group of Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. assists in addressing the many challenges that families and fiduciaries face when tasked with the stewardship of building out a virtual family office. A Virtual Family Office (“VFO”) consists of a team of professionals who rather than operate in silos, collaborate together to create a seamless and holistic wealth management experience, facilitated through well-defined governance, structure and process. The Summa Group has spent 25 years at the advisory table working closely with our clients’ most trusted advisors helping build out these virtual teams. “Virtual” in this context refers to the fact that these advisory roles are coordinated across several firms by dedicated professionals.

Everyone has a different opinion regarding the size and structure of the VFO. In our experience, we’ve seen the VFO model work best with estates ranging from $20 million – $250 million. There are several advantages to the VFO model: You can outsource staff and have dedicated partners in very specialized fields, and only call upon them when absolutely necessary. This allows monthly overhead to be kept at a minimum while maintaining the resources for the family.

Another advantage involves what we term, “the cumulative strategy effect”. Many single family offices are not exposed to the outside world, and things can become biased, in the absence of negative feedback loops. Advisors can become complacent, whereas with a VFO team that handles multiple families, exposure to great strategy or ideas is spread among families in similar situations. As you solve an issue for one family, that same method may be applicable to and shared with other families when appropriate. This may leverage a greater pool of strategies. The Summa Group can help properly structure and implement the process with state-of the-art technology and transparent pricing.

To summarize, a VFO consists of all of a family’s existing professional advice-givers. Ultimately, the effectiveness of any VFO will in large part be driven by the team’s commitment to shared values and disciplines, including transparency, collaboration, communication, authenticity, humility and accountability. The Summa Group is uniquely positioned to offer a “value” driven strategy to the families and fiduciaries who place a premium on unbiased guidance.

Here is what you can expect from us:

  • We work closely with your most trusted advisors to address building out the virtual family office team.
  • Our team is time-tested and has the resources and experience to provide objective advice when constructing these teams.
  • We are firm agnostic when it comes to selecting, interviewing and hiring outside professionals.