What is a Family Legacy & How is a Family Office Different?

Introducing 'Legacy Intelligence'


Legacy Intelligence is Highgates new information and education insights platform to help you navigate your assets, investments, wealth and intergenerational transfer to build a family legacy that can support your vision for your loved ones and their future. Instead of looking at just one aspect of wealth management, Highgate provides comprehensive and complex solutions to investors, individuals, professionals, small business owners and families that need more than the traditional investment plan. Find our best practices and advice here, and build your Legacy Intelligence. 

What is a Family Legacy & How is a Family Office Different? 

Our first article will help you understand the difference between traditional wealth management and what Highgate plans to offer as the next generation of comprehensive legacy wealth managers. As families tend to make up one of Canada’s largest sectors of wealth, it is only natural that they need specialized care and offerings to ensure their assets, investments, and legacies are protected.

Did you know? According to Statistics Canada:

  1. The top 20% of families hold almost 50% of all wealth in Canada
  1. From 1999 to 2012, average net worth in this group increased by 80%
  1. Median income for Canadian families is a respectable $329,900
  1. 1% of Families hold 25.6% of all private wealth in Canada

Families produce superior income generation as well as the ability to grow their net worth at an outsized rate compared to other demographics. It is for this reason that Highgate feels these family units require specialized services.

The Family Office 

While the family office concept is not new, originally developed by J.P. Morgan in 1838, the rise of family incomes has increased the need for these services for a broader range of families besides just the ultra-high net worth families.

A family office is a process that handles a full range of services for families to ensure their wealth strategies are synchronized and leverage multiple tactics besides just equity investing. The family office’s other services include advisory roles in real estate purchasing, income distribution, asset management, insurance services, family trusts and legacy establishment, family philanthropy, succession planning, alternative investments, family accounting and legal services. Often the family office acts as a liaison with other services in a collaborative style. Independence is at the forefront; alternative investments are a major contributor and service is a priority.

The Family Legacy 

If you have built a considerable net worth, being able to protect it, grow it further and ensure an intergenerational transfer that is both fair and satisfying to you is the priority of the family legacy.

The natural stumbling blocks of protecting and growing family wealth can often also be the same point of focus and inspiration that can bring a family closer together. Instead of distancing the conversation of wealth from your immediate family, Highgate encourages an open discussion. Being transparent about your wealth, personal goals, and eventual wealth transfer is an empowering moment for you and your family. Highgate can support these conversations if and when you are ready to do so.

Imagine starting a family philanthropy foundation that can offer your family a point of pride in supporting your favourite causes. This is easier than you think.

As we continue writing our Legacy Intelligence look for future articles on how family foundations can offer purpose and increase giving opportunities through tax efficiencies.

Is It Time to Transform from the Traditional? 

While traditional wealth management is singular in focus, and a core principle of a family office, it is still just a tactic. In a family office, you get access to a full host of professionals that range in experience and provide complete solutions for any aspect that affects your wealth and legacy.

Are you looking to purchase a new family home? In a traditional wealth management relationship, the wealth manager is looking to act as a simple money broker to liquidate equity and potentially at odds with your goals of taking money from your portfolio to invest in a real estate asset. However, in a family office, the conversation about a family home is a core tenet of the plan. The team focuses on matching your goals in the most cost-effective way possible while maximizing your ability to gain an asset that will appreciate.

This is just one example of how a family office differs from the traditional wealth management relationship.

Are you looking to see what the family office difference can provide? Highgate would be happy to provide a consultation.


Marco Zaino

CEO & Portfolio Manager