This is a very important but controversial subject. As part of employment with an ultra high network family organization, this is a critical component for the family members as well as for their weakest link, their employees. In all cases, only top executives should have access to sensitive material concerning the family members. Additionally, all information concerning high level executives that work for Family Offices or the ultra high networth individuals should not allow unsecured access of information to any other staff members in the office.
Malfeasance generally works its way through weakest links. It is often as a result of a “tip” that was paid for by yet a third party who came about important information for legitimate reasons. Through one means or another, the legitimate inquiry did not have proper security measures because they have not had obvious reason to.
The highly complex nature of how the “wrong person” can gain access to proprietary information is always somewhat of a puzzle, but by eliminating many of the pieces, much can be reasonably avoided.
Basic Rules of NEVER:
- If you live in a Country that uses your Country assigned # for identification and background information on you, such as the US, Canada, the UK and many other places, or even a passport identification number or Driver License information, never give it out except to your prime banker that you trust. A third party running a simple “background check or credit check” and that information finding its way from an unsecured portal on the web or from an office cleaning person or many other leaks can ruin your day and potentially your life. Even if you drive and need a license to operate a motor vehicle, make sure it is from a different country ideally or the address is to a mail service or office—not to your residence. Anyone wanting personal information about you should understand that you are happy to provide personal references and credit verification from a bank that you have done business with for over one year and have maintained a satisfactory relationship with. NO other information should be required for any other reason. No exceptions and that should be final. If you work for a major family office and you do this, you deserve to be fired because this is not just a risk to you; it is a risk to the family that you work for!
- Never give out your residence information to anyone unless they are family or closest of friends. Anyone requiring information should be given a mail service.
- Workers and contractors at your home should not be strangers and should not have transient employees. Only use established and local businesses for services and pay the extra amount.
- Security systems should be installed from a non-local company and from one that is a family business and that uses family employees to install. Surveillance systems should be separately installed by another Company and should have the ability to link by Internet. You should be given the codes and change them once the system is installed. Panic buttons should be around the house and also installed on each cell phone that should always be kept “locked.”
- Cell phones should never be in your name. They should be tracking enabled by for private access only. Discovery on the phones should be off. No major carriers that require personal information, only corporate or use a month-to-month service you can put on a corporate business credit card. Keep your cell phone charged and locked always.
- Don’t give out codes to your home to anyone but the most trusted of individuals. Ideally a bio-access is the ideal method so they can be changed as needed.
- Make sure at least one person knows where you are at all times and not just the person with you. Make a habit of doing this or texting it by phone to someone or to a central location. The same is true when you travel to have a code in number to call upon arrival or a text number or email confirmation for departure and arrival. This is also for health as well as security reasons.
- Never create a same pattern for anything. Don’t go to the same restaurant on the same night of each week. Don’t use the same transportation methods to travel. Don’t use mileage programs—you generally don’t use them and they will abuse you.
- Use a high-end health care provider system with someone or a group that knows you and does not have un-security clearanced staff. Your health records need to be readily accessible for emergency and you should also have your own blood stored and frozen.
- When you travel, always have someone that you can contact in an emergency that is local—perhaps a high-end politician. Always know where the best hospital is and how to reach the local chief of police by introduction in advance. Have proper introduction paperwork from a consulate or embassy when traveling in an emerging nation.
- Avoid using your credit card when possible and do not let people know readily that you carry a lot of cash. Do not use traveler’s checks, as they are a complex nightmare unto themselves.
- Make sure educate your children well about all security measures.
- Make sure you have a basement with sufficient food and water and sanitation for one year and a bomb room in the living area of your home with everything including air supply.
- If you have weapons for defense at home, make sure everyone knows how to use them and keep them out of display and secure. Recreational firearms should be kept in a vault or secured and away from ammunition.
- Sanitation is critical when traveling. Bring a mask and cleanser for hands for common area traveling and be careful of what you eat and bring bitters and food enzymes/flora in case of illness from food poisoning.
This list is by no means exhaustive, but should give newbies to the Family Office world an insight as to some basic concerns that can avoid a lot of future problems.