60-second interview with Chris Clarke

Chris Clarke, 8/5/2018

Chris Clarke TEP is CEO of First Affiliated Holdings in Ontario, Canada.

What does your firm or organisation do?

First Affiliated is a multi-family office organisation, much like a family’s private chief financial officer, helping them ‘manage the process of managing wealth’. We provide wealth, lifestyle and legacy management for multi-generational family clients, together with other professional advisors. We aim to help create and preserve family wealth and unity, while building the next generation of wealth stewards.

What has STEP done for you, individually, or as a business?

We have been with STEP since the early years and were honoured to have been nominated in 2009 as one of the top four family offices. This recognition from our peers was especially rewarding, given the respect STEP has earned in the private wealth community. STEP provides our team with a home base for both technical expertise and peer networking.

What is the most important thing STEP does, in your opinion?

STEP's influence and lobby powers with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) is very important to keeping our tax system fair.

You will be speaking at the STEP Global Congress in September. What will you be speaking on and what are the main issues?

I will be building on the topics covered in my book, True Family Wealth: Love, Money and an Inspired Life. My experience working for 30 years in wealth management has shown me at first-hand how families are either empowered or destroyed by their attitudes toward wealth.

Perceptions about wealth are changing, and that will directly impact our profession. We need to change our approach to wealth succession planning. Money and property can be transferred by a will, but not a family’s true wealth. We need a new approach to working with wealth in the family environment, so that every member of the family can thrive, now and in the future.

What do you most like about your job?

Working with families to identify and then reach their life goals. That is really inspiring.

.. and what do you feel is most worthwhile?

When families learn to work together and ‘carry the torch’ together, growing their relationships and their finances. The bonds developed are far more valuable than money.

What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?

There is such a wide range of opportunities available, you should have no problem serving in a field you are passionate about.

Which sectors are likely to see the strongest future growth, do you think?

Family wealth succession planning, regardless of whether there is a family business or not. It will no longer be just about wills.

What trends do you see in the global private wealth sector at the moment?

The industry’s past approach to wealth succession within families falls short of supporting them with the issues that matter most. I have never hear a client tell me that the most important legacy they want to leave their kids is their money.

What do you feel are the main challenges facing your organisation at the moment, and how will you deal with them?

The enormous complexity in trusts and estates law and taxation is increasing professionals’ liability, while exponentially decreasing their effectiveness.

Which social media channels do you use and why?

You can find me on Linked In. I write a blog related to my book which can be found at www.truefamilywealth.ca. I’m also on Facebook.

Chris Clarke TEP is CEO of First Affiliated Holdings in Ontario, Canada. She has been a Chartered Accountant since 1987, a (Registered Financial Planner), TEP and certified Family Meeting Facilitator. Chris is the author of True Family Wealth; Love, Money and an Inspired Life.