A CFO for Wealthy Families
“Most wealthy families have traded true financial control for an illusion of control,” says Sherilyn Casiano, founder and CEO of S.I. Williams Wealth Management, LLC. She should know. Casiano spent five years with the internal financial services group at KKR (Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P.) before starting her own Manhattan-based multi-family office practice serving investment bankers, hedge fund managers and venture capitalists.
“Most families believe that if they hire the best investment and tax advisors they’ll be able to get a handle on their wealth,” Casiano says. “But those advisors’ core competency and focus are invested and investable assets or taxable events. This does not give the families true control because there is a whole range of activities and transactions that are ignored. It is these things that present the greatest risk to the preservation of one’s wealth.”
Information Is Power
Preserving wealth is much more about knowing what you really have – the big picture – and then keeping track of it over time. This can only be accomplished by employing a consistent systematic process. It’s the foundation for effectively implementing any financial strategy. Without those two things – the big picture and a reliable system to deliver the big picture – all your wealth is at risk.
“Our mission is to give our clients true control of their wealth,” Casiano says. “True control comes only from having accurate, comprehensive information and managing the process over time. To do that, we created the Dynamic Wealth Information Management System™. DWIMS makes it exceptionally easy to gain a complete view of one’s wealth, with a process for authenticating, verifying and reconciling all information to ensure its accuracy. Our clients are amazed by the insight and clarity they get from our reporting. As one client said after going through his reports, ‘You’ve just freed up my brain to think about other things.’”
Casiano, who refers to herself as a personal CFO, says demand for her services has grown significantly since the financial meltdown of 2008. “So many smart people were blindsided because they weren’t paying close enough attention to their assets,” she says. “So now they are looking at having their own family office as a way to regain control. But the cost to do that yourself is typically $3 million+.” To meet that need, Casiano now offers consulting and specialized software (called the Dynamic Wealth Information Management Business Solution, or DWIMBS) to help the wealthy family start with a solid foundation. “Once they are set up and organized correctly, it’s an easy matter to customize my system to meet even the most complex financial situations.”