“At Vogel Consulting, everything we do has an educational component. Everything. In meeting with families, I always make it a family process, to counsel and inform them of risk and, always, schedule the meetings as close to their decisions as is possible.”
This is Rhona Vogel’s philosophy, who began Vogel Consulting in 1993 to meet an unfulfilled need in the wealth management industry: to provide client centric services with a depth of integrated and unbiased investment advice. The first Family Wealth Alliance member, the firm was rated by The Alliance as one of the top 10 ‘toughest competitors’ in our 2011 Multifamily Office Study; as Bloomberg Markets Magazine’s Top 50 Family Offices.
Ms. Vogel’s years of experience inform her concern and service to her client families. She began her career with the Internal Revenue Service, continued with Arthur Andersen and led their Family Wealth Planning Group. Those settings provided important perspectives for private, multigenerational education.
With a corporate mission to responsibly protect, build and manage wealth for present and future generations, her perspectives on client education across generations are especially valuable. “Educating families is even more critical now with the possible coming of ‘The Fiscal Cliff’.” The phrase was coined by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke to describe the simultaneous onset of the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, other tax increases and spending cuts that will be triggered on January 1, 2013 unless Congress acts. The combined policies would take $7 trillion out of the economy over ten years, $500 billion next year. “Particularly now, it is essential that we thoroughly educate families on how they must prepare for this possibility. It’s going to be a busy year for anyone educating – and assisting clients. It is important that they understand terms: pricing, the reality of industry segments, the transitions of property.”
She continues, “With clients, I tell a story. Here we are, this is where we’re going, this is where we will end up.”
But she sees the generational issues as the greatest challenge and essential to set the stage for success in the future of the family.
“It is so important to understand that clients of successive generations address decision-making from such greatly disparate generational perspectives. We as family office advisors are naïve to think we can advise and counsel the new generation as we did previous generations. We must recognize there rarely is common ground, that generations will never share the same perspectives, goals, and often, values. Trust companies are a different world. They have trusts and are not as portable. MFOs have far greater and more complex challenges.”
She also feels that in meeting with family members, successful outcomes will happen when action includes personal responsibility. “Don’t do for your children what they can do for themselves. A well intended MFO can become far too concierge-oriented. It’s a disservice and it is enabling. The secret to success is to approach family members with advice and counsel that they will assess as relevant to their lifestyle, their time of life. It’s particularly important because of the scale of wealth of the clients we serve; everything is different, the social interactions, schools, houses, leisure.”
When asked to describe the perfect client, her response is succinct: “Perfect clients are actively involved in the decision making process and like to control their own destiny. They know what they want. And, as a trusted advisor, it is my job to provide options and put the pieces in place to create an integrated plan.”
Vogel Consulting was founded in 1993, has offices in Brookfield, WI and Chicago, IL, and serves a niche market of ultra affluent individuals and private families throughout the United States. It is an independent multi-family office offering an integrated approach to wealth management, using a customized approach to responsibly protect, build and manage wealth for present and future generations. The firm’s focus is on integrating services, which may include: tax consulting and compliance, estate planning, business consulting and investment advisory services. With assets under advisement of $2.5 billion, client members are located in nearly every state.
To ensure compliance with Treasury Circular 230, we are required to inform you that any advice concerning tax issues contained in this communication (including any attachments) was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding any penalties that may be imposed by any governmental taxing authority or agency.