Frequently Asked Questions

Below you’ll find answers to the questions we’re most often asked about our firm and our work.

Business Model

What is a family office?

In its truest form, a family office serves as a single point of contact for all areas of your financial affairs, coordinating with other advisors such as attorneys and accountants while delivering customized advice and personalized service.

How are you different from a bank or traditional trust company?

We have no proprietary financial products.  Nor are we limited in the scope of our services by corporate parameters. We are able to provide a truly holistic view of our client’s financial situation, wherever his/her assets reside, via our powerful consolidated reporting system.

Since you are a “trust company” – are you required to act as trustee?

We are not required to act as trustee. Currently we only serve as trustee on approximately 20% of the total assets we oversee. In most other situations, we use our fiduciary expertise to assist our clients who often serve as trustees for their family trusts.

How are you compensated?

We charge our clients one advisory fee for all investment management and family office services. The fee can be either a flat fee dollar amount or an amount based on a percentage of asset values. The only additional fees arise from corporate trustee services and comprehensive bill payment services. We neither accept nor pay commissions of any type.

What type of families do you work with (i.e. how do I know if my family is a fit)?

We work with wealthy families with complex financial affairs.  Within those families, we serve multiple generations of family members and the entities they have established, including trusts, charitable foundations, donor-advised funds, LLCs and FLPs, corporations and the like.

My family’s assets will (hopefully) last for many, many years – what assurance can you give me that you will be around?

At its founding, our Company was structured for longevity with majority ownership by multi-generational client families and an independent board of directors. Further, we purposefully maintain a pipeline of talented professionals to ensure clients are well-served over time and generations.

Client Service Model

Who will work with my family?

We will serve your family using a team structure. Our client teams are comprised of individuals with varying backgrounds and skills (attorneys, CPAs, CFAs, etc.), chosen specifically for your family’s needs and “personality.” Every team consists of multiple professionals with whom you will meet regularly, as well as operations and support staff behind the scenes.

How do you work with my other advisors?

You likely already work with attorneys and accountants. If not, we can recommend suitable legal counsel and tax professionals. We do not replace these advisors. Instead, we provide them with a complete picture of your financial affairs and supply the information needed to yield the most appropriate advice. We work together with your advisors to collectively develop and implement strategies aligned with your goals.

Do you work with families outside St. Louis?

We serve families located across the United States. Over half of our client meetings are outside St. Louis. Distance is no barrier – our professionals often travel (at our expense) to meet with clients at home or wherever they may be. Our highest client populations are in Missouri, California, Illinois, Florida and New York.

You say you are “independent” – why is that important to me?

Having no products to sell affords us the freedom to objectively analyze any financial transaction or planning strategy to recommend the best possible outcome for you. We can truly view things from your perspective and in your best interests.


What investment management resources do you have?

We have exceptional investment resources for the benefit of our clients through a combination of internal experts and partnering with external world-class firms. We partner with three outside consultants to source new managers, perform due diligence, and provide on-going monitoring of new and existing traditional, alternative and impact investment managers.

I have a relationship with an investment professional that I would like to maintain. How do you work with them?

Most clients arrive with existing investment relationships such as brokers or investment managers. If you wish to maintain certain relationships (or if we decide together to keep a relationship for various investment or tax reasons), our team works closely with those other professionals at the onset and ongoing to coordinate and ensure the investments they manage fit with your overall portfolio strategy.

How do you evaluate private business deals or other investments that might interest me?

Our Investment Committee evaluates each investment opportunity on a case-by-case basis applying a multi-step approach. Recommendations are based on our assessment of the investment opportunity within in the context of your risk tolerance, strategic allocation, and other available opportunities. The following white paper: Investing in Private Companies provides our perspective on private investing.

What are the primary strategies employed by the firm for adding value to clients’ portfolios?

First and foremost, we help our clients practice good investment behavior. Successful investing often means investing in assets that don’t seem attractive and taking gains from high performing assets (as part of rebalancing). Our role is not to give easy advice, but the hard and appropriate advice. To further this point, John Jennings wrote an article for Forbes titled: Investors, Don’t Succumb to the Fear of Missing Out.  The concluding section emphasized our primary strategy to add value to our clients’ portfolios, “adopt a long-term perspective and stick with your investment strategy.”

Do you help clients with values-based investing (SRI, ESG, impact, etc)?

Over the past few years, our clients (and employees) have expressed an increased desire for values-based investment solutions. As a result, in 2020 we began partnering with an industry-leading impact investing consultant for both thematic and investment manager research and solutions.