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Family Governance, Legacy and Dynastic Vision: Family Office Roundtable in The Bahamas

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With a long standing history and track record in financial services, The Bahamas has a first class legislation and judicial system as it relates to private client wealth planning, was the first non-civil law jurisdiction to introduce foundations, and its Trustee Act (1998) has been celebrated as an excellent example of modern legislation in the fiduciary services industry. The jurisdiction is also fully on board on CRS and on top of other international regulatory developments such as transparency and the OECD's BEPS initiative.

But foremost, The Bahamas is in the most beautiful location, with a very vibrant cosmopolitan community in New Providence and an extraordinary marine and boating environment. With just 184 miles or a 30 minutes flight from Miami, and in the same time zone as New York, ready access into Europe as well as Latin America, it's an efficient jurisdiction where people can set up their family offices in a relatively short period of time.

In fact, the growth of family offices in The Bahamas has been remarkable as many of them are going from jurisdictional diversification, and 'as complex as it gets', to streamlined simplicity for easier reporting, operations, and compliance in a global headquarter. The Bahamas can facilitate all of a family's asset structuring, management and administration, based on an extensive advisory network, excellent private client lawyers, accountants, etc., while also creating a true residency nexus for family members.

The Adi Dassler International Family Office is a good reflection of this. Here, the oldest daughter of Adi Dassler moved to The Bahamas in the early 1990s as a lifestyle choice. Today, two out of her three sons also live in The Bahamas, and while the third son lives in Switzerland, his son, who is now fourth generation Dassler, is working in the family office in Nassau. The CIO says that sitting in Nassau and managing a fund and other investments has been no different from when he was sitting in London doing the same function.

Family Governance, Legacy and Dynastic Vision

Taking the growth numbers of billionaires as a proxy, the explosion of private wealth is unabated and unprecedented. The Hurun Rich List counted 647 Billionaires in Mainland China, and Forbes lists 565 in the US (up from "just" 42 in 1987). Forbes also said the 233-person increase in their count of global billionaires from 2016 to 2017 was the highest jump in the 31 years it has been compiling this list. The total net worth of billionaires increased 18% to $7.67 trillion, which is higher than the GDP in more than 60 countries.

Creating, managing and administering large amounts of wealth comes with its own set of challenges, and so we find that in today's world, parents and grandparents are much more likely to be proactive with their children regarding the family wealth. They also start much earlier educating and involving their children, and working on aspects such as:

  • Family Governance, Legacy and Dynastic Vision: How to tap into and maintain the human and intellectual capital of a family (page 17)
  • Family Culture and Freedom of Testamentary Disposition: The way in which the founder provides for heirs can determine the entire future of the family (page 18)
  • How to establish a family constitution and a living legacy (pages 19-21)
The Opalesque Bahamas Roundtable also discussed:
  • How social media affects families (page 18-19)
  • What will be the OECD's next step after CRS? (page 7)
  • What role will artificial intelligence play in the delivery of legal and private wealth advisory services? (page 7) How do family offices view the ascent of AI in finance? (page 15)
  • Trust litigation: The Pugatchev case and its significance (page 14)
  • Why some family offices go 'back to basics' in terms of strategic and tactical asset allocation (page 15)
  • New opportunities for The Bahamas following its overhaul of the Investment Funds Act and Financial and Corporate Services Act (page 4, 12-13)
The Bahamas Roundtable took place in Nassau, The Bahamas, with:
  1. Christina R. Rolle, Executive Director, Securities Commission of The Bahamas
  2. Antoinette Russell, Chairman, Bahamas Financial Services Board
  3. Katie Booth, Managing Director, Katie Booth Limited
  4. Kevin Burrows, Chief Investment Officer, Adi Dassler International Family Office
  5. Bryan Glinton, Partner, Glinton Sweeting O'Brien
  6. Andrew Law, CEO & Founder, IPG Family Office.

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