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29 November 2021
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3 minutes

TMF Group launches a new report: “Meeting the needs of modern families”

tmf group young modern family

A new study reveals insights about families advised by STEP members and what their wealth and succession planning needs are.

Today TMF Group, a leading professional and financial services firm, has launched a new thought leadership report, “Meeting the needs of modern families”. Produced by STEP (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners), and sponsored by TMF Group, the research outlines the issues and opportunities that modern families - spanning multiple jurisdictions - are dealing with, and highlights the complexities currently facing them and their advisors.

The survey had a total of 613 respondents across multiple jurisdictions with lawyers, solicitors, attorneys and barristers accounting for 40.78% of those who responded, tax advisors and accountants for 15.66%, and wealth managers, investment advisors or bankers for 9.62%.

The study reveals a distinct change in the construct of a family, with an increase in blended families. 96% of respondents are now advising this type of family – 63% indicating they make up a meaningful proportion or, in some cases, the majority of the families they advise – and three quarters noting that they have seen an increase in the number of blended families they work with over the last ten years.

This change brings increased complexity which is often leading to conflict. From generational conflict within the family to conflicts resulting from differences across jurisdictions, respondents are increasingly seeing disagreement, breakdown in family relationships and litigation.

Specifically, 71% of respondents see the increased complexity in family dynamics as a challenge, and almost a quarter see them resulting in increased likelihood of litigation or a breakdown in family relationships. Three quarters of respondents identified that cross-border or tax conflicts resulting from differences across jurisdictions are proving contentious and leading to litigation; 69% highlighted generational issues and 65% of respondents identified out-of-date language being used in wills, trusts and deeds.

The increase in complexities and the potential for conflict has resulted in increasing demand for advisors and their services. Tax advice tops the list of the services seeing increased demand with 96% of respondents selecting this option – a key issue for multi-jurisdictional families in particular as a result of differing tax rules and the increased focus on tax transparency and compliance. This is also seen in the increasing demand for global/cross jurisdictional services.

Overall, the study suggests that there is no longer a one-size-fits-all approach to meeting families’ needs. Advisors are having to recalibrate their approach when advising modern families as they themselves become more complex as well as the world around them. The complexity and wide-ranging compositions of today’s families means a bespoke approach is needed, which often requires collaboration with other professionals across multiple jurisdictions.

I am excited to launch this new report, as a result of our collaboration with STEP. This study provides valuable insight into the experiences of practitioners and the makeup of the families they advise across multiple jurisdictions. Our findings will help families and their advisors navigate the complexities they face to plan for their future with certainty. Thank you to all the respondents for sharing their experience and knowledge.

Aynsley Vaughan Global Head of Private Wealth & Family Offices