Conversations with some of the world’s wealthiest families reveal top aspirations, concerns around family governance, values-driven impact strategies and investments
NEW YORK, Jan. 10, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — J.P. Morgan Private Bank today released Stewardship & Purpose: Conversations with the world’s wealthiest families, a study conducted by the firm’s 23 Wall Team. The Private Bank’s report captures insights from conversations with nearly 80 billionaires family principals across the globe with an average net worth of $4.86BN on how they approach crucial areas such as family governance, values-driven impact strategies, and investments.
“One of the Private Bank’s greatest honors is the opportunity to work with some of the world’s wealthiest families, many of which we have served for generations,” said Andrew L. Cohen, Executive Chairman of J.P. Morgan Global Wealth Management. “Their generosity of time and insight provided a unique window into how these families think about their wealth and seek to build their legacies.”
Interviews for Stewardship & Purpose were conducted over eight months beginning in December 2021, performed with hour-long conversations with principals, rather than a traditional survey format to achieve a much fuller, personalized understanding around each families’ philosophies and approaches. The billionaires study was global by design, incorporating clients across North America, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe, the Middle East and Africa in the interview process.
“In their own words, these families share lessons, real-life examples, honesty and a tremendous amount of detail on a wide array of topics and concerns they face,” added Benjamin Hesse, Chief Operating Officer, J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management. “Overwhelmingly, they stressed the importance they place on being good stewards of wealth and, even more significantly, building a connected family.”
The Private Bank’s report collectively draws from the many anecdotes and responses given to identify clear themes and preferences among the group of global billionaires.
Engaging the next generation means ‘no one path fits all billionaires.’
“As families expand and transfer their wealth and legacy, principals at the helm feel that providing the next generation with more flexible choices allows them to both shine and better benefit the family based on their unique strengths,” added Cohen. “A common billionaires theme is that they don’t want anyone to feel forced on to one singular track.”
Most family principals dedicate time and resources to prepare the next generation for inheriting wealth but noted multiple ways to encourage that leadership. One third (33%) of family principals interviewed encourage or require younger members to work outside of the family enterprise to equip them with the tools they need to succeed. Nearly half (48%) encourage or require the next generation of family members to enroll in educational courses to help them one day navigate the family’s future endeavors.
Established procedures are critical to avoiding family conflict, or navigating should it arise.
Sixty-eight percent of billionaires confirmed that creating clear procedures, policies and rules around the family enterprise are crucial to handling conflict. Relevant scenarios include navigating a shareholder exit, compensation agreements and expectations, and a protocol for expressing feedback or points of dissention.
“Guardrails are imperative, and commitment to securing family harmony is more so. As one principal summed this up, ‘unity has far more value long-term than any particular deal,’” added Hesse.
Philanthropy is still widely the preferred vehicle for impact, but interest in values-driven investment strategies is growing.
“For most families, the idea of ‘giving back’ is no longer a question of just donating money,” said Cohen. “Most families take a holistic approach that helps shape family charitable, business and investment decisions, focused on applying their families’ values and missions across all their various avenues of capital.”
The vast majority of family leaders are philanthropically motivated to make a lasting local or global impact, with 74% indicating so. Education (66%), followed by healthcare and medicine (44%), are the predominant categories of interest, with most principals noting the desire to “give to where you live” among their local communities.
Among their investments, just 22% of family principals say that they carve out a space for sustainable investing or that it plays a significant role in their strategy, but more than half (52%) note they are considering it for their future investment plans.
The desire for institutionalizing portfolio oversight is increasing, along with demand for private investments.
A full 63% of billionaires indicated that their family offices have a Chief Investment Officer, that was separate from their Chief Executive Officer. This is a significant increase from the 2016 J.P. Morgan and World Economic Forum report that cited only 37% of family offices had a split role.
On the investment strategy side, many principals noted their increased focus on private investments in recent years, in addition to performing as an engagement tool for next-generation members. For example, one principal surveyed mentioned a son interested in video games and a niece interested in sports who had sparked investment in those industries.
Generally, the survey found that families are investing primarily in technology, including biotech, with 54% of principals saying it is their main industry of focus. This is followed by healthcare (30%), real estate (25%) an opportunistic approach (22%) and consumer products (16%).
Learn more about Stewardship & Purpose and download the full report here.
About 23 Wall
J.P. Morgan’s 23 Wall is a specialized global team that provides select families with access to the firm’s intellectual capital, balance sheet and deal flow, offering direct access to the Corporate & Investment Bank. 23Wall reflects J.P. Morgan’s commitment to delivering the entirety of J.P. Morgan to the world’s largest families, treating them as institutions in terms of capabilities, strategic partnerships, financing and access to private deals.
About J.P. Morgan Private Bank
J.P. Morgan Private Bank provides customized financial advice to help wealthy clients and their families achieve their goals through an elevated experience. Clients of the Private Bank work with dedicated teams of specialists that bring their investments and financial assets together into one comprehensive strategy, leveraging the global resources of J.P. Morgan across planning, investing, lending, banking, philanthropy, family office management, fiduciary services, special advisory services and more. The Private Bank oversees more than $1.8 trillion in client assets globally. More information about J.P. Morgan Private Bank is available at privatebank.jpmorgan.com