Magazine article American Banker

Ex-Banker Found Niche Aiding In-Home Advisers

Magazine article American Banker

Ex-Banker Found Niche Aiding In-Home Advisers

Article excerpt

OAK PARK, ILL. -- In the mid-1980s, Sara Hamilton was making house calls on wealthy families as part of a fact-gathering mission for Harris Trust and Savings Bank.

Criss-crossing the country, she interviewed 20 families who had professionals managing the family business from a "home office."

In offices dotting the map, she discovered, these employees were starving for information about their peers that could help them perform better.

"I began to see a need for an information clearing house for these professionals," she said recently in an interview in her office in Oak Park, Ill.

Ms. Hamilton left Harris Trust and in 1989 set up Office Exchange to cater to families wealthy enough to have home offices for handling investments. These offices are often set up by families that have sold a business and been left with substantial sums to reinvest.

Family Office Exchange appears to be a resounding success. Its revenues have grown by 30% a year and are expected to hit $1 million for 1994.

The firm regularly serves 40 wealthy families and has worked with 120 of the 2,000 families with home offices, Ms. Hamilton said.

It provides members with a quarterly newsletter, consultation, topical conferences, and help with hiring office executives. It also works with trust companies and private banks to improve their services and knowledge of the market.

"She's positioned herself as the first and most comprehensive source to the family office," said Barry R. …

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