Seward & Kissel’s Family Office Group brings together the expertise of our Investment Management, Trusts and Estates, Taxation, Business Transactions, Litigation and Employment groups to assist our clients on a wide variety of legal matters, including structuring, organization and regulatory compliance, trusts and estates planning, taxation, business transactions and investments, employment issues and other legal matters.
Structuring, Organization and Regulatory Compliance
Seward & Kissel advises families regarding the creation, structuring and operation of family offices. We work closely with the family to determine the correct structure for their needs from a variety of alternatives, including forming a single family office, forming a private trust company, joining a multi-family office or hiring an institution to provide family office services.
We also assist clients with ensuring that they are complying with all applicable rules and regulations. This includes structuring the family office to fit within the “family office” exemption from registration as an investment adviser as well as the creation of internal policies and procedures that are tailored to the needs and resources of each client.
For those families who manage their investments through partnerships or limited liability companies, we provide advice on complying with the Securities Act of 1933, the Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Company Act of 1940 and the Commodity Exchange Act.
Trusts and Estates Planning
Whether to preserve and build wealth for future generations, to achieve philanthropic ends, or to meet other objectives, we guide our family office clients on the creation and structuring of family offices with an eye towards efficient wealth transfer and harmonious family interactions. We advise clients on the use of domestic and foreign trusts and business structures for control, transfer tax and income tax optimization, asset protection, and charitable giving, as well as with respect to the selection and procurement of insurance, the creation of charitable foundations, and the exigencies for changes of residence, domicile and citizenship. We also handle litigated matters that arise in the trusts and estates context, such as construction questions, contested accountings, and legal capacity and undue influence allegations.
Business Transactions and Investments
We are recognized nationally and internationally for our work with private investment funds, including U.S. and offshore hedge funds, and we are able to use this expertise to assist our clients in reviewing, negotiating and structuring investments in hedge funds, private equity funds and real estate funds.
We routinely counsel family offices in connection with their direct business transactions, including company and asset sales, acquisitions, financings, investments in portfolio companies, advice in connection with portfolio company IPOs and related stock sales, and the negotiation of credit facilities secured by artwork, aircraft, private fund interests and other alternative assets.
Given our private funds expertise, we also regularly provide assistance to family offices in investment management transactions, including “seed” and “accelerator” investments, as well as minority and majority stakes in investment manager entities. When appropriate, we have structured these investments as part of a joint venture with other family offices.
We assist family office clients with all of their employment, executive compensation and employee benefit needs, including drafting employment agreements, restrictive covenant agreements, deferred compensation arrangements, and equity incentive agreements for senior management and their portfolio companies, as well as separation agreements and equity ownership buy-outs. We also provide clients with updates on developments in the employment law landscape, draft employment manuals and other employment policy materials, counsel clients on a variety of issues including hiring and termination decisions and the handling of disability claims and accommodation requests, and provide in-person office trainings on various topics such as sexual harassment.
To speak with an attorney regarding Seward & Kissel’s Family Office Practice, please contact: