NORTHWOOD FAMILY OFFICE

Canada’s family office.

Northwood Family Office is an independent, privately-owned boutique family office, which provides comprehensive Net Worth Management™ to wealthy Canadian and global families. It acts as the personal chief financial officer for clients so as to coordinate and manage their investments, financial affairs and family issues.

At Northwood, we start with the premise that the management of net worth must be planned and managed on an integrated basis. Just like a successful business brings together disciplines to work cooperatively (eg. sales and marketing, accounting, finance, operations, legal, etc.), families of substantial wealth must also take a coordinated approach to their affairs.

“Wealth is much more than just investments. Our role, as a family office, is to develop an integrated plan for family wealth, and then identify areas requiring specific expertise and attention.”

Tom McCullough

Chairman and CEO, Northwood Family Office

Our history

Northwood was conceived from its co-founder Tom McCullough’s desire for a truly ‘comprehensive, customized and confidential’ service to meet his family’s needs. While multi-family offices were well-developed in the U.S. and growing rapidly as wealthy families seek out objective advice and boutique-style service, in the early 2000s they were virtually non-existent in Canada.

Founded in 2003, by Chairman and CEO Tom McCullough and President Scott Hayman, Northwood has quickly become one of the leaders in its field and has been regularly selected as ‘the #1 independent family office in Canada’ in Euromoney’s Global Private Banking survey.

Our people

The Northwood team has a broad range of backgrounds and experience, which gives us the depth and specialized skills to deal with the complexities of family financial issues.

Our people are experts and have held senior roles across the breadth of the financial services industry. Our principals regularly lecture on issues pertaining to families of wealth and hold positions in Canadian faculties including the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and Western University’s Ivey School of Business.

Tom McCullough is the co-author of Wealth of Wisdom: The Top 50 Questions Wealthy Families Ask and Family Wealth Management: 7 Imperatives for Successful Investing in the New World Order.

Your services

Our unique Net Worth Management™ approach starts with an overall view of a family’s wealth. From here we follow a three stage approach, cherry picking best-in-class solutions that are expertly coordinated to meet the singular challenges faced by each family.

Integrated planning

After the initial client discovery meeting, Integrated Planning is the next step in working with a family office.

It often includes some or all of the following:

  • Net Worth Management™
  • Risk Management
  • Tax and Structure Planning
  • Estate and Succession Planning
  • Philanthropic Planning
  • Governance and Education
Northwood works with the family and their advisors in specific disciplines, such as tax, legal, insurance and investments. We identify priority issues, map out a game plan and develop solutions together to meet the family’s objectives. Northwood’s breadth and depth of experience in all key financial disciplines makes us uniquely positioned to pull all the pieces of the puzzle together.

Our role is also to identify areas requiring specific external expertise and then involve and work with those professionals as needed. In a sense, we act as a ‘general contractor’ on behalf of the family.

Investment management

Once the integrated planning work has been mapped out, we then move to our six-stage Investment Management process.

Step 1 – Client Discovery
We start with each family’s unique combination of objectives, desires, resources and constraints, gathered from our client discovery conversations.

Step 2 – Risk Allocation
We then analyze a family’s existing net worth using our unique risk assessment approach. While each family is distinct, in principle, we believe that their lifetime needs should be ‘immunized’ with very conservative assets. Their legacy objectives (estates, bequests, etc.) can often afford a higher risk / return character.

Step 3 – Asset Allocation
The above information, in conjunction with an understanding of the economic environment and investment alternatives, leads to an asset allocation decision. It ensures a diversified, risk-appropriate portfolio designed to achieve each client’s objectives. We capture all of this in an Investment Policy Statement, which becomes the framework for all future investment decisions.

Step 4 – Asset Allocation
We then focus on creating the most tax efficient result for a family’s net worth by locating the assets in the most appropriate legal entities.

Step 5 – Manager Selection / Oversight
Suitable discretionary investment managers are then chosen from among a carefully selected universe of professional firms, who act as sub-advisors. Each manager recommends a customized portfolio to suit the client’s requirements, which we implement for clients on a segregated basis. We choose managers based on a number of factors including quality of people, a sensible investment approach, degree of correlation with other managers, and consistent investment performance.

Step 6 – Reporting and Review
We monitor and review the investment managers to ensure they are meeting agreed-upon objectives and have not altered their investment philosophy from the mandate that we hired them to perform. We are also alert to changes that have occurred within the family and / or the economic environment to determine if any adjustments need to be made to the portfolio.

Implementation

At Northwood, we believe that the finest plans in the world aren’t worth the paper they are printed on unless they are successfully implemented.

We focus much of our time and attention on this responsibility on behalf of our clients. Examples of the implementation work we do for families are listed below.

Ongoing Management
This includes ongoing advice and counsel, quarterly client meetings and annual reviews.

Advisor Coordination
We ensure that all of the family’s personal advisors are kept informed, engaged and in tune with the family’s overall plan.

Consolidated Reporting
Reporting is customized to each family and delivered on a quarterly basis.

Administrative Services
Our administrative services very much depend on the unique needs of each family, but can include the following:

  • Expense review
  • Cashflow management
  • Tax instalment coordination
  • Registered plan contribution coordination
  • Bill paying and banking
  • Insurance renewals
  • Lifestyle Services
This category covers a wide range of services that can include assistance with purchase/construction of a second home, health care support, referrals to health care services for the elderly, or assistance with immigration and cross-border issues.

Referral Services
Northwood can help a family find an expert to assist them in a number of areas, from tax advisors, lawyers and other specialists that a family might need to access.

Contact Northwood Family Office

Toronto

130 King Street West
Suite 2250, P.O. Box 245
Toronto, ON M5X 1C8

Tel +1 416-502-1245
Fax +1 416-502-6279