What we do at Keystone AdvisersSome of the things we can do for your family
Our clients often start with a specific problem to fix. Like yesterday.
This is often when financial control, mediation and decisive action needs to take place urgently. But clients recognise that usually these problems are symptoms of deeper issues and often choose to go further. We do project specific work or longer-term relationships.
We have many years of experience in banks and investment houses, but we are independent and unconflicted. We can help you decide on a strategy, appoint regulated discretionary investment managers, and help manage the relationship. Knowing the right questions to ask is something that only comes from working in the industry.
What once worked well for families is often no longer applicable or practical as things have moved on. Sometimes it is simply not possible. We have experience of businesses large and small. We can help families become more business-like, with financial control, office organisation, staffing, technology and many other things.
You may already have trusted lawyers, trustees, accountants, land or property agents and other specialist advisers in place. We work with them and coordinate family strategy. We can help appoint new advisers both from our extensive networks of contacts and through conducting rigorous beauty parades or selection processes.
With new generations or challenges, it’s probably time to move on from legacy frameworks. We can help you on family and financial governance. This is the sort of area where extreme tact and discretion are paramount because there is so much scope for discord; but at the same time there could be golden opportunities to move on from past problems.
Mentoring & Coaching
Execution of a strategy is as much about coaching and mentoring as it is about personally getting on with whatever is necessary; and that it true for people at all levels in all industries. Mentoring is specific help from someone who has been there before, while coaching is about helping you find your inner resources to realise your goals.
CASE STUDY: Family Governance
- The family was in the early stages of handing the reins to younger generations.
- It was time to review the family’s priorities and plan an appropriate approach.
- There were (unsurprisingly) different views on the way forward.
- As a result, it was necessary to review the way decisions were made.
- Achieve consensus between the different family groups to clarify family wishes for the trustees.
- We conducted bilateral discussions with the family and trustees.
- We secured agreement to tender for a Strategic Review.
- We agreed terms of reference for the Strategic Review
- We arranged a beauty parade for outside consultants.
- We secured family backing for the result of beauty parade.
- The Strategic Review report proposed several long-term objectives to unite the family.
- We secured family backing for a new framework for taking day-to-day decisions.
- The Strategic Report proposed a 7-point plan to restore the finances of the combined estate.
- The family agreed to adopt a unified ‘one-estate’ approach.
- The family committed to implementing a process for financial governance.
CASE STUDY: Financial Control
- A large family concern was operating without budgets or basic financial and management information.
- We needed to introduce financial governance and management systems into the family office.
- We consulted with the family and trustees as well as other key advisers on the scope of process, systems and reports required to provide an appropriate level of financial governance, having regard to needs of other stakeholders, e.g. Banks, HMRC, regulators and quasi-regulatory bodies.
- We reviewed existing systems and procedures in the family office and recommended the installation of a new software system capable of automating the production of financial reports, forecasts and other regular management information.
- We recommended the establishment of a capital projects “wish list” to help prioritise expenditure for significant expenditure.
- The projects were fed into the budgeting process to assist with realistic budgeting and efficient expenditure controls.
- We assisted in briefing the family’s accountants to ensure that the new systems’ reporting was specified appropriately.
- We consolidated the separate business centres into a “one-estate” accounting system, with flexibility to show performance by separate entity.
- A base year was established for measurement and comparison purposes.
- An annual budgeting routine was introduced.
- Three-year profit and loss, balance sheet and cash flow forecasts were produced, incorporating strategic and stakeholder inputs and the capital projects wish list.
- Regular monthly reports are now produced for management purposes to compare actuals against budget.
CASE STUDY: Generational Mediation
- The generation in control was becoming less networked as time moved on, and was concerned to maintain the status quo.
- There were wide differences of opinion on many day-to-day matters which distracted from the main strategic issues.
- We needed to establish trust as an ‘honest broker’ between different elements of the family.
- Establishing common ground and aligning the family behind a united vision for the future.
- We spent time with each member of the family to understand the background issues, their aspirations, different viewpoints of the current situation and what needed to be done.
- We set out a list of priorities for both the short and longer-term.
- We canvassed opinions from other relevant stakeholders, e.g. trustees, other external advisers.
- We assessed what was feasible in a realistic time frame.
- We discussed our findings and recommendations with each member of the family to ensure universal fit and acceptance.
- We agreed a new role for the younger generation.
- We achieved agreement to review the strategic vision for the future.
- We achieved agreement to review the decision making framework.
CASE STUDY: Litigation Support
- Relationship between a wealthy family and a well-known investment bank had broken down due to a substantial loss in a discretionary account for which the bank disclaimed responsibility.
- Guiding the legal team as expert adviser and expert witness, establishing what had gone wrong, where the blame lay and what loss had been suffered.
- Extensive desk research of disclosure from the bank in investigation of circumstances.
- Writing an expert report and liaison with bank’s expert.
- Pre-trial settlement of the full estimated investment loss.
CASE STUDY: Asset Valuation
- In the course of an important family divorce, there was a dispute over the value of various complex and illiquid investment assets.
- Guiding the legal team as expert adviser and expert witness, to determine the most likely fair value of the assets.
- Production of expert witness reports.
- Extensive research of the underlying investments, forensic accounting, anonymously testing the market for the assets, writing expert report and liaison with spouse’s expert.
- Pre-hearing settlement on agreed terms.