Welcome Families and Your Advisors

RayLign: mourning the loss of our dear colleague Scott Budge

It is with deep sorrow that we mourn the loss of our beloved friend and colleague, Scott Budge, and send our heartfelt condolences to his family.  Scott made tremendous contributions to our Firm, our clients and to the industry of Family Business Consulting.  He was able to adeptly apply deep technical curiosity for, and knowledge of, human psychology with a real-world understanding of how family relationships are affected by money and business.

His 2007 book, The New Financial Advisor, and decades of articles related to his personal observations, will be cherished as they inform and educate for years to come.  Scott would refer to his work with Families and their Advisors as “helping make some of the most important decisions they will make in their lifetimes”.  We anticipate a Memorial service sometime over the coming weeks, as well as a special tribute to Scott and his life’s work at our upcoming Gathering on November 2nd.  We, along with so many others, are grateful for having him as part of our lives.  Those that have had the good fortune to know Scott, refer to him as “calming, caring and wise”.   He will be sorely missed, and always in our hearts and minds.

With heavy hearts,

The RayLign Family

Family Branches

How do we respect each individual family member and branch in the context of our collective purpose and needs?

We often get asked the question, “who is your client?” For many advisors, the answer is “the person who initiated the work, or whoever is paying for the service”. Since sustainability of the family considers the well-being of each of the individual members, alignment requires consideration for the opportunities and challenges of each family member within the context of the whole.

Operating Business

What is the role our family business plays in our lives, and what are the family member relationships relative to the business?

The resources most families have are the result of wealth created more or less from commercial enterprises. In many cases, these businesses are a dominant concern and even threaten to eclipse the central well-being of the family. Issues that emerge when families work together in operating businesses and the attending transitional complexity associated with family ownership, are frequent “presenting problems” brought to us for scrutiny and solution.

Family Office

How do we organize ourselves and our resources in support of our priorities, in addition to communicate together to maintain continuity through the generations?

Whether stewarding large or moderately large asset bases, families often have a more or less formal and articulated family office of some kind or another. The structure, systems and processes of these offices can support or undermine what the family is trying to accomplish at various stages in the life of the family’s liquidity and asset concentration strategies through time. As a family’s “second family business,” they are also subject to all of the complications of running any business that is family owned and seeks some form of sustainable contribution to the family’s well-being.

Wealth Advisors

Which advisors do we partner with to help us along on our journey?

Invariably, there is a more or less trusted and capable set of advisors that are part of the family’s enterprise system. Who they are, what role they play, and how well they function as a team is often extremely important. Clarifying which family members turn to which advisors for what kinds of advice and counsel is extremely important to understanding how our work can complement, support, and sometimes shake up what is going on in the advisory team.

Investment Allocation

How do we design and implement our investments and oversight that aligns our capabilities, values, risk appetite and varied objectives?

Families have varying forms and approaches to investing, and investments that are variously well or poorly managed. They are often a source of concern for families, and family members typically have a range of relationships to key investment processes on a continuum of complete lack of interest to near obsession. It is not unusual for a family to need to get their investment program right so that they can pay better attention to the other elements of the alignment system that may be crowding out well-being agendas.

Social Agenda

What is our social commitment, and how does it manifest itself?

Because many of these families have outsized financial resources and influence, they also have amplified social footprints, whether in the form of philanthropic endeavors or public personas. Issues of social identity and personal security are often part of this dimension. Families are increasingly interested in applying consistency across all of their enterprising activities.

Human Development

What skills do family members need to develop for their own personal independence, as well as to participate in various aspects of family enterprising activities?

This element refers to the reserve of intellectual resources and skills a family has—and the developmental agenda that is either present or not. This dimension of the system illustrates how a family is poised to grow, develop new leaders, contain various forms of intellectual capital, and how their strengths and weaknesses are understood opposite financial and non-financial family objectives.

Well Being
Explore the components of RayLign's Family Alignment System below:
Family Branches

How do we respect each individual family member and branch in the context of our collective purpose and needs?

We often get asked the question, “who is your client?” For many advisors, the answer is “the person who initiated the work, or whoever is paying for the service”. Since sustainability of the family considers the well-being of each of the individual members, alignment requires consideration for the opportunities and challenges of each family member within the context of the whole.

Operating Business

What is the role our family business plays in our lives, and what are the family member relationships relative to the business?

The resources most families have are the result of wealth created more or less from commercial enterprises. In many cases, these businesses are a dominant concern and even threaten to eclipse the central well-being of the family. Issues that emerge when families work together in operating businesses and the attending transitional complexity associated with family ownership, are frequent “presenting problems” brought to us for scrutiny and solution.

Family Office

How do we organize ourselves and our resources in support of our priorities, in addition to communicate together to maintain continuity through the generations?

Whether stewarding large or moderately large asset bases, families often have a more or less formal and articulated family office of some kind or another. The structure, systems and processes of these offices can support or undermine what the family is trying to accomplish at various stages in the life of the family’s liquidity and asset concentration strategies through time. As a family’s “second family business,” they are also subject to all of the complications of running any business that is family owned and seeks some form of sustainable contribution to the family’s well-being.

Wealth Advisors

Which advisors do we partner with to help us along on our journey?

Invariably, there is a more or less trusted and capable set of advisors that are part of the family’s enterprise system. Who they are, what role they play, and how well they function as a team is often extremely important. Clarifying which family members turn to which advisors for what kinds of advice and counsel is extremely important to understanding how our work can complement, support, and sometimes shake up what is going on in the advisory team.

Investment Allocation

How do we design and implement our investments and oversight that aligns our capabilities, values, risk appetite and varied objectives?

Families have varying forms and approaches to investing, and investments that are variously well or poorly managed. They are often a source of concern for families, and family members typically have a range of relationships to key investment processes on a continuum of complete lack of interest to near obsession. It is not unusual for a family to need to get their investment program right so that they can pay better attention to the other elements of the alignment system that may be crowding out well-being agendas.

Social Agenda

What is our social commitment, and how does it manifest itself?

Because many of these families have outsized financial resources and influence, they also have amplified social footprints, whether in the form of philanthropic endeavors or public personas. Issues of social identity and personal security are often part of this dimension. Families are increasingly interested in applying consistency across all of their enterprising activities.

Human Development

What skills do family members need to develop for their own personal independence, as well as to participate in various aspects of family enterprising activities?

This element refers to the reserve of intellectual resources and skills a family has—and the developmental agenda that is either present or not. This dimension of the system illustrates how a family is poised to grow, develop new leaders, contain various forms of intellectual capital, and how their strengths and weaknesses are understood opposite financial and non-financial family objectives.

Well Being

What is the purpose of our wealth?

Such a profound and seemingly simple question, and yet many families ignore or are challenged to come up with an answer. Well-being is ultimately defined by the alignment of purpose as a family collective, with the culture, structure and well-being of each of the individual family members. Refers to the set of formal and informal structures and processes that guide and enable effective family decision-making through the generations. But they can also involve informal ways decisions get made, what kinds of checks and balances exist in those processes and an assessment of how functional those informal processes are.

Business Continuity

How does an advisor manage long-term strategic priorities relative to day-to-day tactical implementation?

Attraction and retention of high quality client relationships and employees is the backbone of organizational stability, and is maintained through proactive communications and management related to ownership, recruitment of key talent, client service delivery, business infrastructure, and financial staying power. Proactive business leadership is required to execute on these strategic imperatives and anticipate business bottlenecks, providing stability through inevitable organizational transitions.

Relationship Outreach

How does an advisor build its relationship network to achieve organizational objectives?

Business stability is supported by an advisors ability to grow, creating organizational vitality required to attract and retain high quality clients and employees. As such, a strategic commitment to business visibility and relationship development needs to be in place to define a market message, qualify relationship opportunities, understand changing market forces, and internalize real-time external feedback.

Investment Competency

What is the advisor’s philosophical tenets, and how does it prioritize and organize its resources to deliver investment results on behalf of clients?

Wealth advisors must meet the highest standard and disciplines for allocating capital across the global investment landscape, and across asset categories, to achieve client objectives. Process priorities need to be clarified related to client needs discovery, strategic allocation, macro analysis, asset allocation, captive investments, manager due diligence, capital deployment, and reporting. Additional resource allocation choices need to be made relative to ever expanding coverage that considers passive, active, alternatives, private, social, as well as global strategies and vehicles.

Client Intimacy

How does an advisor organize its resources to deliver consistent and high quality client communications and services throughout the life of a client relationship?

The breadth of wealth advisory services is only expanding given client life expectancy, legacy considerations, intergenerational communications, and increasing solution-set complexity. Advisors require the capacity to be experts across a full array of services domains, access other advisory resources as needed, as well as facilitate complex family system alignment. Intimacy considers form and frequency of communications, access to senior level personnel, empathic capacity, and responsiveness to requests based on the implied or explicit value promise and fees.

Information Assimilation

How does an advisor organize the flow of data, and the synthesis of information, to support business and client driven processes?

To support client solution development and implementation, given an expansive set of client services and investment management options, an organization must demonstrate collaborative decision-making and a technological capacity for gathering, synthesizing and reporting key wealth management data. Data management integrity also considers client accessibility, demonstrated expertise managing third party providers, as well as contingency, privacy and security implications.

Services Coordination

How does an advisor organize itself to coordinate with a given client’s network of advisory relationship?

Client solutions reach across accounting, tax management, insurance, trusts, estate planning, banking, financial planning, philanthropy, and a host of other wealth services. In order to plan and execute on custom client priorities, advisors need the personnel and process management capacity to coordinate projects and communications with a client’s entire wealth advisory team.

Stakeholder Interests

What is the advisor’s commitment to understanding and aligning interests across its primary stakeholders?

Business sustainability through the lifecycle of an advisory firm is driven by constant alignment of ever evolving interests across three primary stakeholder groups: employees, clients and owners. Different tensions arise at various stages of organizational development related to balancing culture, business investments, growth, service quality, delivery structure, capability development, and financial results.

Well Being
Explore the components of RayLign's Advisor Alignment System below:
Business Continuity

How does an advisor manage long-term strategic priorities relative to day-to-day tactical implementation?

Attraction and retention of high quality client relationships and employees is the backbone of organizational stability, and is maintained through proactive communications and management related to ownership, recruitment of key talent, client service delivery, business infrastructure, and financial staying power. Proactive business leadership is required to execute on these strategic imperatives and anticipate business bottlenecks, providing stability through inevitable organizational transitions.

Relationship Outreach

How does an advisor build its relationship network to achieve organizational objectives?

Business stability is supported by an advisors ability to grow, creating organizational vitality required to attract and retain high quality clients and employees. As such, a strategic commitment to business visibility and relationship development needs to be in place to define a market message, qualify relationship opportunities, understand changing market forces, and internalize real-time external feedback.

Investment Competency

What is the advisor’s philosophical tenets, and how does it prioritize and organize its resources to deliver investment results on behalf of clients?

Wealth advisors must meet the highest standard and disciplines for allocating capital across the global investment landscape, and across asset categories, to achieve client objectives. Process priorities need to be clarified related to client needs discovery, strategic allocation, macro analysis, asset allocation, captive investments, manager due diligence, capital deployment, and reporting. Additional resource allocation choices need to be made relative to ever expanding coverage that considers passive, active, alternatives, private, social, as well as global strategies and vehicles.

Client Intimacy

How does an advisor organize its resources to deliver consistent and high quality client communications and services throughout the life of a client relationship?

The breadth of wealth advisory services is only expanding given client life expectancy, legacy considerations, intergenerational communications, and increasing solution-set complexity. Advisors require the capacity to be experts across a full array of services domains, access other advisory resources as needed, as well as facilitate complex family system alignment. Intimacy considers form and frequency of communications, access to senior level personnel, empathic capacity, and responsiveness to requests based on the implied or explicit value promise and fees.

Information Assimilation

How does an advisor organize the flow of data, and the synthesis of information, to support business and client driven processes?

To support client solution development and implementation, given an expansive set of client services and investment management options, an organization must demonstrate collaborative decision-making and a technological capacity for gathering, synthesizing and reporting key wealth management data. Data management integrity also considers client accessibility, demonstrated expertise managing third party providers, as well as contingency, privacy and security implications.

Services Coordination

How does an advisor organize itself to coordinate with a given client’s network of advisory relationship?

Client solutions reach across accounting, tax management, insurance, trusts, estate planning, banking, financial planning, philanthropy, and a host of other wealth services. In order to plan and execute on custom client priorities, advisors need the personnel and process management capacity to coordinate projects and communications with a client’s entire wealth advisory team.

Stakeholder Interests

What is the advisor’s commitment to understanding and aligning interests across its primary stakeholders?

Business sustainability through the lifecycle of an advisory firm is driven by constant alignment of ever evolving interests across three primary stakeholder groups: employees, clients and owners. Different tensions arise at various stages of organizational development related to balancing culture, business investments, growth, service quality, delivery structure, capability development, and financial results.

Well Being

What is the purpose of our business?

Such a profound and seemingly simple question, and yet most advisors ignore or are challenged to come up with an answer. Well-being is ultimately defined by the alignment of purpose as an organization, that considers culture, structure and respected relationships with each of the primary stakeholders. Refers to the set of formal and informal structures and processes that guide and enable effective organizational decision-making through its lifecycle.

VALUES

VALUES: The core values of our clients—how they spend their energy, time and money—drive culture and express basic forms of what the stakeholders care about. Values alignment does not typically rest in attempts to simply harmonize values across all members but seeks to identify common values across the domains where they actually share assets or alliances to set the tone for carrying out effective work together.

LEADERSHIP

LEADERSHIP: Clients reach out when they are in the throes of making some of the most important decisions they have ever made in their lives, and having to show leadership through circumstances that are, for them, challenging and even unprecedented. They go through ups and downs through the course of time, therefore, HOW leadership emerges and decisions are taken will drive effectiveness of the well-being and sustainability agendas.

CULTURE

CULTURE: Our client has the ability to foster interdependence and acts with basic respect to the other stakeholders, this further makes well-being sustainable through the generations. Often parent-child or owner-employee or trustee-beneficiary relationships color the nature of respect occurring in our clients, and warrant proper attention as a variable in enabling successful shared endeavors.

STRUCTURE

STRUCTURE: The behavior of our client systems needs to be aligned with strategic objectives. If, for example, the structure drives for tax management against values driven by human development, the contradictions should be worked toward resolution. As such, values must drive how the organizing structures are implemented, not vice versa.

STRATEGY

STRATEGY: Understanding how to build plausible future desired states for clients against known current states, with articulation of potential implications, bottlenecks and risks associated with different solutions paths.

PROCESS

PROCESS: The ability to scope, time and manage multiple-lined projects, which implies the ability to identify objectives, tasks, dependencies and to introduce a process mindset into the work with clients.

FRAMING

FRAMING: Understanding of how capital markets work, investment policy development, asset classes and allocation, philosophical convictions, implementation issues, tax sensitivity, alternatives, asset bucketing, and governance of the investment process.

DYNAMICS

DYNAMICS: This skill cluster involves both emotional intelligence—reading social/emotional cues and reacting to these toward efficacious ends—and the ability to understand group and family dynamics and show ability to work with those forces in constructive ways.

RayLign Advisory LLC35 Mason St., Greenwich, Connecticut 06830
(203) 742-5450