NU Online News Service, July 3, 1:10 p.m. – Cerulli Associates Inc., Boston, says financial advisory firms that want to serve wealthy families through “family offices” may need a new “Certified Family Office Manager” designation.

Family offices are offices that handle wealthy families’ finances.

Families need about $200 million in assets to cover the cost of a stand-alone family office, but a financial services company may be able to make family offices available through multifamily programs to families with as little as $20 million, Cerulli analysts write in a new report on trends among companies that serve the wealthy.

Traditionally, successful family offices have employed lawyers, accountants, and certified planners and advisors, the Cerulli analysts write.

The analysts suggest that financial services companies entering the family office market may need formal programs that senior advisors can use to pass their specialized knowledge on to junior colleagues.

A formal CFOM designation program could set minimum competency standards and continuing education requirements, the analysts write.

The analysts also recommend that financial services companies rely on advisors to market their own family office services, rather than developing dedicated family office sales teams.

A wealthy “family will not respond well to a dedicated family office salesperson because [wealthy] families realize that the relationship is abruptly ended after the close of the sale,” the analysts conclude.