With an introduction to open architecture and the outsourced CIO as background, let's move on to the specific challenge of finding the right advisor for your family.
Though every family will have its unique needs, most families will find it useful to focus on the two main dimensions along which advisors fall. These are what we might call the “bundled-versus-unbundled” spectrum and the “open-versus-closed architecture” spectrum. Finding the right place for your family on these two dimensions will very substantially simplify the challenge of finding the right advisor.
An advisor who bundles its services is mainly selling convenience, simplicity, and one-stop shopping, but at the cost (usually) of quality and family knowledge (we'll discuss why in a moment). At the extreme “bundled” end of the spectrum, the advisor might already have in place such services as custody, brokerage, asset allocation, money management, performance reporting, fiduciary services, and a broad range of “softer” services some families will need, such as check-writing, intergenerational counseling, and so on. These services might all be performed by the advisor itself, or some or all might be outsourced.
At the extreme “unbundled” end of the spectrum, an advisor is mainly selling best-in-class services across the board, but at the sacrifice (usually) of simplicity. An unbundled provider will wait until it ...