An elderly couple transferring wealth, an entrepreneur seeking business investment advice and a three-generation family preserving a legacy—they all turned to the Commerce Family Office.
These clients are among 80 families throughout the Midwest putting their trust in the comprehensive, highly customized suite of financial services offered by Commerce Family Office (CFO). The boutique within the bank evolved a year ago after clients requested a heightened relationship with a trusted adviser who could oversee all of their financial affairs on a more strategic level. “A lot of families have come back to establishing relationships with local financial advisory service providers,” notes senior vice president David Krauss, managing director of CFO.
During the past year, CFO has brought on a number of new family relationships, generated by the longstanding tradition of The Commerce Trust Company, Krauss says. Through the trust company, Commerce has the comprehensive resources and experienced staff to provide clients at any wealth level with a wide range of services, including investment management, private banking, trust services and financial advisory.
Because Commerce realizes each family is different, CFO advisers start with a family meeting to outline its specific financial goals. The adviser then helps the family maintain a long-term focus, as well as plan for transitions related to its properties, businesses or wealth transfers. While meeting a range of client needs, advisers handle everything from everyday bill pay and cash-flow analysis, to long-term management and monitoring of major assets, such as properties, businesses and investments.
For example, CFO is guiding a local three-generation family through transferring wealth to its children while maintaining a legacy. An adviser not only financially educates the leaders of the family, but also the next generation. “They want to maintain responsible, productive children, so we work with the younger generation and teach them how to budget and work with advisers, as well as to have an appreciation of investing,” explains senior vice president Tom Kahn, managing director of CFO. “We help them with their role as the next family leader because we believe our most knowledgeable clients are our most successful clients.” The adviser also developed a legacy statement for the family and ensures each financial step taken is in line with that philosophy. “Communication is important and necessary because the family has a lot of assets they own collectively, such as stocks, farms and real estate,” Kahn says. The CFO can facilitate trust and communication among clients, he continues. “Financial conflicts between family members arise not because of choosing the wrong stocks or advisers, but because the family members’ trust and communication is not at a high enough level.” CFO advisers can help them get there, he says. “There is no one model here. We’re really very flexible—we handle unique and challenging situations all the time.”
For another client, a busy local entrepreneur, CFO evaluates his business offers, creates business plans and acts as back office support for his start-up companies.
Krauss notes CFO also works with clients’ outside service coordinators and advisers, such as lawyers, accountants and insurance and investment representatives. “We have a strong reputation of working with outside advisers because that teamwork brings the best results to the families.”
Through this customized teamwork approach to family’s finances, Krauss expects another strong year for CFO. “We see expansive growth opportunities.”
ON THE COVER: Commerce Bank is growing its Commerce Family Office, which provides a comprehensive, highly customized suite of financial services. Pictured on the cover: Tom Kahn, Adrienne Davis, Cindy Lewis, Martin Galt III, David Krauss. For more information, call 746-7266 or 746-7367 or visit commercetrustcompany.com.