The light shines brightly on the family office

The light shines brightly on the family office

The light shines brightly on the family office A Toronto-based multi-family office garners additional interest south of the border. There appears no end to the good news in this niche segment.

The folks at Northland Wealth Management have found themselves in the spotlight once again.

In mid-December WP reported on the three nominations the Toronto firm received from New York-based Private Asset Management, an influential publication in the wealth management and family office industry.

The latest attention comes via the Family Wealth Report Awards who’ve shortlisted Northland in the investment management category. Up against BNY Mellon Wealth Management, the two firms are vying for the title of best non-bank wealth manager based in Canada.

That’s ironic given BNY Mellon’s past history in retail banking.  Equally interesting is the fact BNY Mellon established the first ever U.S. dedicated family office in 1971.

Northland CEO Arthur Salzer said about the recognition: “We are delighted to have been shortlisted for this important award.  It is a great honour and a testament to the hard work our team has put in over the last 12 months… Northland Wealth Management is neither constrained by a narrow view of wealth management nor conflicted by financial incentives toward one solution over another.  Because of this, we provide unbiased advice and solutions to our clients giving them peace of mind not found elsewhere.”

While Northland rightly should be very proud of the praise it’s garnering from business media south of the border, it’s important to look at these nominations from a big-picture perspective. Family offices are still a very immature niche in the Canadian wealth management industry. Salzer would be the first to admit that his firm, itself only three years old, has a lot to learn about operating a multi-family office.

In an email to WP, Salzer stated when asked about the nascent industry, “When one compares the wealth management and family office sectors in Canada vs the United States, it becomes apparent that as much as 90% of every investible dollar in Canada is controlled in one way, shape or form by a division of one of Canada’s banks. The US playing field, while still being dominated by banks such as JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, etc., has many independent firms offering unbiased and objective advise for families and high net worth investors. [The industry] It’s alive and well.”

Ultimately, the recognition Northland or any other family office receives in the media is good for the industry as it grows and matures. 

Salzer sums it up best.

“Hopefully, the recognition that Northland Wealth receives will play a part in educating Canadians to ask and demand more from the firms that serve them.”

Hear, hear.