So I am approaching a major milestone birthday soon – well, in the next six months – and this upcoming threshold has caused me to reflect on what has been and what will be. Of course there are personal moments that I have been thinking about but many of my thoughts linger on recent interactions I have had with family office executives and private clients concerned about what the future may bring.
Unease and Uncertainty
A recurring theme has been a growing sense of uneasiness. An uncertainty that seems is coming from so many different areas. One observation I hear over and over again is “we don’t know what we don’t know about our security.”
Now this is not coming from fear or anxiety about what is around the next corner. Instead, much of this is fueled by a growing number of media sources inundating us daily. These are from traditional channels (e.g., newspaper and television) as well as social media apps (e.g., Facebook, Instant gram, Snapchat, Twitter). There are so many stories of physical, IT, cyber, social media, and travel security concerns that it is growing difficult for anyone to discern reality from “fake” news.
Risks and Wealth
So if you are an affluent individual or responsible for a family office that looks after the interests of its members then it’s natural to ask questions, at some level, about exactly which are the most common – or serious – risks that confront individuals and families with wealth.
But how do you begin answering these? What’s the best starting point? Our experience as trusted security advisors to private clients and family offices around the globe is to begin with a conversation. A discussion about how different types of risks, threats and vulnerabilities impact treasured lifestyles, preferences on convenience, adaptability to change and approaches to technology, among other factors.
Examples and Scenarios
This sharing of information creates a foundation, an initial platform, to develop a plan on where the priorities lie and what should be subjected with further scrutiny. For example, the head of a growing family office association may be concerned about new members seeking access to the organization and whether a background check with the appropriate scope has been conducted. Or a private client conducting business from home may need to understand the IT and information security management protocols critical to securing their data. A family office may have principals who are traveling for philanthropic, business or personal interests and wants to explore having an emergency management plan in place supported by a travel security capability that delivers assurance to members of the family office that planning for contingencies has already been completed.
Conversations and Confidence
On some levels, I’m no different than our clients. The only way to truly understand and prepare for the future – at 50, like me, or at any age – is to start with a conversation. Approaching this life threshold has me asking myself familiar questions with a new resolve, if not urgency. Am I planning for the right risks? Am I talking to the right advisors? Am I putting the right actions in place to protect my assets – and the future of those who depend upon me?
So as I approach this birthday milestone, I’m asking myself: am I more confident about how I am preparing for uncertainty ahead? Are you?