Wealth Solutions & Wealth Planning
Eton Solutions Launches its ‘Revolutionary’ Administrative Family Office
Bryan Henning of Eton Solutions
Mar 1, 2023
At the Hubbis Family Office Forum on February 9, exclusive sponsor Eton Solutions offered delegates some valuable navigational points for achieving cost-effective reporting and operations, and for proper governance. The two speakers were Satyen Patel, Executive Chairman of Eton Solutions, and Bryan Henning, Senior VP and Singapore-based Head of International at the firm. This is a brief summary and introduction to what was an immensely detailed talk and slide show. The talk was designed not just to highlight the key challenges for family office founders and principals, but also to explain the missions for Eton Solutions and the firm’s new international HQ in Singapore. At the same time, the Forum and the presentation were timed to simultaneously launch their brand new global Administrative Family Office solution, which Eton Solutions has created to help open access to institutional levels of family office capability to all sizes of family offices from USD100 million and up.
Satyen opened the talk by briefly highlighting that they had identified challenges and key needs of family offices in Asia as they conducted their in-depth market research over 15 months prior to the launch of their new international HQ out of Singapore, which was also announced formally on February 9 to coincide with the Forum.
“We soon saw that Eton needs to see the market differently. “Yes, we may have 400 family offices in the US and North America, including a sprinkling from around the world, such as New Zealand, Australia and most recently Geneva, but the findings were so significant that we are acting on them and now launching the Eton Solutions Administrative Family Office, or AFO.”
Democratising access to optimised family office solutions
Satyen added: “It really is a milestone in Eton’s evolution, designed to democratise access to the technology being used by institutional family offices, as well as provide top-notch Middle and Back Office Services to enhance efficiency and operating leverage.”
Delivering on six key objectives
AFO thereby combines the best of both the Eton AtlasFive® Proprietary Platform and Eton Services Suite to deliver what are essentially six key features.
Number one is Family-level governance, whereby sponsors institutionalize family objectives and comply with regulatory requirements. Secondly, AFO offers what they call ‘Full control at your fingertips’ to initiate, authorise and manage all tasks and operations. Thirdly, get a holistic view of total assets and capture the family’s total net worth for risk management and seize market opportunities.
Number four is to seamlessly manage complex investments, including simplifying the entire Private Equity Lifecycle, with number five having the ability to track of all the private assets like art, wine, watches, yachts, cars, properties etc., and finally AFO delivers high-quality, accurate and secure data infrastructure, thereby removing manual data management and simplifying the family office’s data operations.
Born out of genuine needs
He explained that AFO was born partly out of the reality that an ERP installation is quite a heavy undertaking requiring what he called a “significant amount of horsepower” to figure it out.
“We realised we need a new and different solution, and AFO is different and unique, and we will be rolling it out worldwide,” he said. “We provide a platform solution that takes care of everything, the license fee, implementation and services, 100% of middle and back office. We then create an ecosystem in the marketplace where all our platform partners can join in, in any form of advisory capacity, where we are happy to include you as advisory partners.”
Working with partners and friends
He explained that as Eton builds out the business and reach and brings in more clients, more family office sponsors, some of them multi-billion dollar clients, they will need advisors for their family offices. “Accordingly,” he reported, “we are building the advisory services ecosystem. And by the way, we absolutely do not venture into advisory ourselves.”
He expanded on these comments, noting that the AFO one-stop solution they were announcing that day of the Forum was therefore designed and created to provide the offices what he called “a cutting-edge, friction-free, budget-friendly, fast-track and integrated solution to get any family office from perhaps USD100 million in assets, up and running.”
Innovative institutional capabilities
“We could support even smaller, but perhaps our target sweet spot is up to USD250 million in assets, but of course the one-stop solution covers family offices that are far larger,” he reported. “Our market is vast, as we estimate there are more than 165,000 families with more than USD100 million of assets worldwide. And we are able to provide any of them the same technology, the same capability that our USD10 billion AUM Eton Advisors MFO works with.”
Trust and security
Satyen added that there are also three fundamental drivers incorporated within – privacy,security and control.
“We are a cloud-based, actually cloud-native offering on Microsoft Azure, communications on our platform take place behind a firewall, away from the World Wide Web, so you are communicating with your family office and your family members and your advisors through encrypted communications behind the firewall, whether from PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone.”
The nuances of Asia
Satyen also addressed a key issue for Asia-based family sponsors, namely control.
“It is quite ironic that sometimes family members actually assume that by going to a digitised platform, they lose control, but they do not,” he stated. “This platform actually allows you more control, both from the standpoint of privacy but also levels of openness.”
He explained that this is especially important for Asia, where there are often multiple families within families involved. The solution accordingly allows for the building of relevant authorisation levels where only certain family members see certain elements, which can be very important for the smooth running of the family office and the families involved.
With that, Satyen handed the floor to Bryan Henning to drill down into more detail for delegates.
A revolutionary offering
Bryan opened with what he called a fun fact, namely that on this day in 1969 Boeing launched the Boeing 747 that revolutionised access to global travel and made it far more accessible to all types of people.
“And as we launch our Administrative Family Office solution today, or AFO, we believe it is both evolutionary and also revolutionary, as we are also democratising access to a platform that was really only accessible to billionaires,” he told delegates. “We think this is much more applicable in the Singapore market, but it is also a global launch of an all-in-one combination of optimised services and technology.”
Seeing the big picture, filling in the colours
He explained that in Singapore and more broadly in Asia, there are many key challenges to address around establishing and operating family offices. He said a key mission is to make expensive talent such as CIOs, CFOs and others more productive and efficient and therefore control headcount by reducing manual, mundane tasks rather than truly helping move the family sponsor forward. “And they need governance for today and the future generations,” he reported.
He added that AFO is designed to help FOs manage headcount, perhaps replacing or supplementing with a fully outsourced middle and back office, which he said can save up to 30% to 40% of operating costs. “As Satyen told you, this is a combination of our world class Atlas Five propriety platform used by billionaires, and our Eton Services Suite, in other words our services team.”
A comprehensive solution for all
Bryan then drilled down into what was quite significant detail on the offering, which is best reviewed by access to pages 8-22 of their well-formulated and succinct slide presentation (see this LINK).
And he closed his talk by also offering more insight into who is who at Eton Solutions new IHQ out of Singapore. “Our dedicated AFO Management Team in Singapore has been assembled to best deliver impact at pace,” he reported. He explained that he is heading up the International office , supported initially by Tracie Soh, Vice President for Marketing & Client Engagement, alongside Ronan Goh as Client Service Manager. The service team is led by Nimish Soni, Head of the Administrative Family Office, and the CFO is Srikrishna Madhavan.
From Singapore to half the world
As Satyen had explained earlier in his welcome address, the new Singapore International HQ will cover all markets for the firm east of London and all the way to Australia, New Zealand and Japan. “Our team has many decades of experience between them,” Bryan concluded. “We are here to work positively and collaboratively with the wealth management, family office and professional advisory community in Singapore and far beyond. Our doors are open.”
SVP, Head of International at Eton Solutions
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