Linda Mack participated as a panelist for a webinar held April 1, hosted by the Family Office Association addressing Family Office challenges during the COVID-19 crisis

Linda Mack of Mack International participated as a panelist for a webinar held April 1, hosted by the Family Office Association entitled, Family Office Compensation and Recruiting Challenges During this Unique Time.

“Best practices are the same, however, their value is more deeply appreciated during a crisis.”

Linda spoke about the impact of the pandemic on family office executive searches. “While corporate searches have come to a halt in many cases and hiring freezes are common, we continue to be busy. It’s almost a business-as-usual situation for many families despite the negative impact and uncertainty that exists. First-generation entrepreneurs who are setting up offices for the first time continue to look for key leaders for their office. Succession searches are actively going forward to replace those who have retired or left a position. On the candidate side, everyone is home and accessible.”

Linda on how hiring has been affected: “With in-person meetings temporarily suspended, technology and videoconferencing play an important role. Some families are more comfortable than others hiring without meeting a candidate in person—and the reverse is also true. There are some high urgency situations due to a critical vacancy or successor. It also depends upon the level of the position. If it is a national search, the issue of relocation will add complexity to the equation. Virtual tours and other creative approaches have become a valuable communication tool. The key is for both parties to be flexible, adaptable and creative. Not everyone has a comfort level with making a decision now, and that is understandable. Others seize the day.”

How does the COVID pandemic compare with 2008? “The primary difference was the financial crisis of 2008 didn’t affect meeting in person or require remote operations. Like 2008, many investment portfolios were hit hard very quickly, and a Family Office without a strong CIO at the helm are experiencing a lot of uneasiness. When heavy turbulence hits, you want an experienced pilot at the controls. We are seeing families appreciate the value of the emphasis they placed on hiring a strong Chief Investment Officer to both protect their portfolios and to help identify attractive investment opportunities as the cycle evolves.”

Linda talked about how Best Practices have changed. “Best practices are the same, however, their value is more deeply appreciated during a crisis. Family Offices that have not focused on succession planning, contingency planning, and business continuity planning are vulnerable. If the head of the family gets COVID 19, is there enough bench strength to take over until his or her return? Are leaders cross-training teams for back up and to more effectively work remotely? What are advisors’ plans? Contingency planning is vital. In times like this, there is a re-emphasis on leadership characteristics and attributes: flexibility, adaptability, creativity, resourcefulness and resiliency. Family Offices may look back on this crisis as their wake-up call to consider what type of leaders they need in an uncertain world.”

The webinar was recorded and is available on the FOA website.

About Mack International LLC
Mack International is the premier, a boutique retained executive search and strategic management/human capital consulting firm serving national and international clients in the family office, family business enterprise, and the wealth management industries on a national and international basis. Founded in 2002, the firm has achieved an exceptional track record of success as evidenced by its unmatched industry expertise, in-depth market knowledge, and unparalleled track record of success. Founder and President, Linda C. Mack has established proprietary methodologies such as the Mack 360© and is credited for having coined the term “expert generalist” in the industry.