Ritossa Summit: Private Family Offices, Family Legacy, Timeless Continuum, & Sustainable Investing

In times of exceptional uncertainty and when radical shifts are needed to secure a new state of global unity, bold actions are necessary. As political world leadership debates on social media, approximately 250 like-minded economical leaders, from all corners of the world, braved flight, and border uncertainties to attend the 11th edition of the Sir Anthony Ritossa Global Family Summit in Monaco on July 29/30. Another 600 attended virtually from their home-base.

Under the High Patronage of His Serene Highness Prince Albert II of Monaco and hosted by the Ritossa Family Office, the two-day private forum welcomed a diverse group of Elite Family Offices, Prominent Conglomerate Business Owners, Sheikhs, Royal Families, Private Investment Companies, International Business Mogels, Sovereign Wealth Funds, & industry professionals.

It was a privilege to be invited to attend the 11th Sir Anthony Ritossa Global Family Office Investment Summit where new friendships were forms, thought-provoking exchanges held, and many life and business lessons learned.

For those who receive an invitation to one of the following events and looking for a glimpse into some of the ideas being openly debated at the forum, I invite you to read on as I share a few key lessons learned from the latest summit.

 

Braving the pandemic to design a better future together

As a gathering of the world’s most influential elite family office decision-makers, some may say that it was ill-advised for the attendees to take the risk to be present, for themselves, their families, and for fellow citizens of their home countries. Yet there is only so much that can be done in a virtual environment and when precautions are taken, the risks are minimal considering the global economic impacts to come from the newly formed partnerships.

Listening to webinars, attending virtual conferences, scheduling Zoom meetings is and will become the norm as we move further along with the Digital Renaissance. As Markus Lehner, Chairman of the Summit, and Principal of the Markus Lehner Family Office stated, virtual business relationships save both time and money in unprecedented ways. From 167 flights in 2019 to two flights this year, both his professional and personal life will never be the same. The extra breathing room was well received.

Yet, although our new digital lifestyle gives us extra freedom, let’s remember that our humanity will always require us to stay connected in the physical space because when the stakes are high, it is only by feeling the vibrational energy of a new person that we can physically sense the confidence needed to initiate a new high-level economical partnership. And amidst our current global crisis, we can all agree that our world needs an economical boost to uplift the millions, if not billions, who have or are in the process of losing everything. Hence, the need for world leaders to take a physical risk to connect when many may advise otherwise.

It takes courage to take a leap, to fly across the world in times of pandemic and global lockdown. Those who attended the Sir Anthony Ritossa Global Family Office Investment Summit show leadership proof that regardless of the crisis faced, when vision and mission lead actions, personal risks are just part of the journey toward entrepreneurial success.

 

Giving Back to Humanity, not necessarily a biological mission

At a summit of private family offices representing US$4.5 trillion of family wealth, the generational transmission of capital, expertise, and relationships is, to be expected, a subject of high importance.

Giving back to our children only comes naturally, but a question addressed at the summit pushes the definition of children to another stage. Biology of family may characterize our ideology of sharing, but what happens when there are no children to pursue the family legacy? Or if the children have their own ideas and ideals to follow? Should we only transmit our wealth through biology?

Dana Al Salem, CEO of Merit Capital, and Co-Founder of Yahoo Europe revealed details of her relationship with a young group of people who have come to be family. Every Friday evening, she shares her knowledge with them via conference calls, giving them answers to questions that may otherwise be impossible for them to decipher on their own. She has much to share, from years of success, and, she believes that transmitting her hard-earned knowledge to those who seek it and who will use it for the greater good, will not only be time well spent for her own personal fulfillment, but time well spent to ensure that these young people are uplifted faster and higher up the success ladder for the common good of all.

She believes that transmission does not have to be biological, it can be a personal gift to humanity.

And if we consider that knowledge is the greatest form of wealth, I am sure Dana Al Salem would second me when I say that every world leader should reflect on the information shared with others, whether in private, on their blog, or on social media.

We have a choice. We can either contribute to the chaotic noise of the moment, fighting for a mere moment of Twitter attention, or we can ensure that our words have lasting effects by communicating deep thoughts that open up new ways of thinking, seeing, and believing in others. Without meaning and direction, words can be wasted.

Generational wealth transfer starts with great storytelling, and when we can publish our knowledge for free, and share it exponentially at very little cost, the question we should ask ourselves is why not all make a gift to humanity by sharing our most precious lessons learned with others instead of chasing Insta-fame for the good of our ego.

 

Generational Wealth Transfer, Meeting Individuality with Family Unity

While Dana Al Salem answered the first question about transmission from one generation to the next when there are no biological children, Hadi Al Alawi, Chairman of the Al Hayat Group answered the second, what happens when the children are numerous and everyone has strong interests of their own.

Hadi Al Alawi communicated the story of his family tree, explaining how each member is expected to find his or her life passion, then pushed towards excellence in achievements instead of being asked to blindly follow the professional footsteps of the patriarch to support the family business. He expressed the importance of creating a state of freedom within the family dynamics to ensure that each member achieves his own life goals while at the same time receiving the support from all other family members, building bridges from one family enterprise to the next.

By embracing the entrepreneurship individuality of each and respecting the traditional values of family unity, the Al Alawi family clan may not only build one business empire, they may build a hundred or more, strengthening the family legacy and greatly contributing to society as a cohesive entity.

Funneling each generation to build upon the original family business may no longer be the way of the future. As Gen X, Y, and Z rebel against old ways of thinking, searching for new models that better fit with the sustainable mindset, creating borderless global communities thirsty for change, giving them the chance to lead our world with new world thinking by investing both their time and inherited capital in businesses or philanthropic initiatives that sparks their inner-being and outer-courage, may be exactly what we need to save our world from the current state of auto-destruction.

A big wave is coming on strong, and freedom and agility of execution by the next generation may be the best way forward for private family offices who want to properly transmit the family wealth from one generation to the next.  You cannot build the future when you have anchored yourself in the past.

 

Timeless Continuum, side-stepping the noise to focus on longevity

Somehow, we have forgotten that by its very nature, social media, digital communication, and most of what is happening in our world that captures our attention nowadays is ephemeral. The speed of light does not make a lasting mark. When turmoil seems to be everywhere around us, we need to remember the importance of our place in history, especially when aware that we are the link between family heritage and family legacy.

H.R.H Prince Michel de Yugoslavia, Distinguished Grand Ambassador for the 11th Sir Anthony Ritossa Global Family Office Investment Summit, shared with the attendees the concept of Timeless Continuum, a concept that deserves our fullest attention as we share and receive bits of noise after bits of noise from thousands of unofficial sources coming at us from every direction from our digital ecosystem.

Timeless Continuum reminds us that what is behind us is long, and what is in front of us, is equally exceptionally long. We are but at a minuscule point on the geographical timeline of humanity, and we must remember to always future proof ourselves, not letting the tumultuous energies of the moment push us around, opting instead to follow the path of silence and resilience, steering our ship towards the horizon, making waves where waves are needed, yet being aware that the energy of the ocean will always lead the way for the betterment of all.

It comes as no surprise that H.R.H Prince Michel de Yugoslavia is a passionate photographer. In the split of a second, a photographer is able to capture the real meaning of a precise moment of time in space, ensuring that it is not forgotten from our memories and that it can be shared for generations to come, reminding us that although times have changed, the essence of our world always remains the same. A great photographer can filter the noise and see the precise combination of elements that awaken a sense of wonder in us, allowing us to reimagine the unimaginable from one generation to the next.

We should all learn from the great photographers of our time and let go of moments that do not define the essence of who we are, removing unnecessary noise from our environment, leaving room for those that allow us to achieve our individual destiny. Let us clear the clutter, let us focus on our core vision and mission to uplift our world towards a new elevated state of living for all, and let us move the conversation from the timestamp of the instant to one of longevity.

 

Technology & sustainability, the future of private family office investing

Fintech, blockchain, digital assets, cryptocurrency, artificial intelligence, health tech, education tech, and every other sort of futuristic technology was at the top of everyone’s mind at the Ritossa Family Office Summit. Saying this, we must remember that an increase in the use of technologies leads to an exponential surge in information circulating in the digital sphere, meaning an exponential growth of data storage to keep up with humanity’s thirst for knowledge.

The cloud is not a metaphysical space where information floats in the quantum realm, the cloud needs its physicality in the form of data centers to store and process information before we can retrieve it to complete the next assigned informational task. We may no longer publish information on paper, nor store in our personal computers, but that information still exists.

Hiding behind the creative concept of a cloud is the easiest way to forget that data centers generate enormous amounts of energy, and although private family offices and investment firms will and should continue to invest in futuristic technologies, it is important for their leading members to study the environmental and ecological impact of each technology startup before making an initial investment. If we continue to build up a world of gray without protecting the green, who are we and what will we become?

Serge Conesa, CEO of Immersion4, a Swiss-based company with innovative eco-solutions to cool-off our data in an ethical manner explained the importance of taking the right technological decisions now before our love of information and data becomes the biggest polluter in the world. Listening to him speak on the panel made it clear to everyone in the room that we all need to spend more time studying the link between technology and sustainability. We cannot simply blend in everything under the concept of “environment” nor “climate change”, an entire lexicon needs to be learned by all those who either work, invest or use technologies, meaning by everyone.

It was clear listening to the debates and conversations at the Ritossa Summit that relocating money from one family dynasty or investment firm to the next without considering the impact of its movement on our global ecosystem is a thing of the past. One simply needed to look at the list of attendees and the subjects being debated on the panel to realize that private family offices are well aware of their leadership role in today’s society, a role that seems to be at the heart of every investment decision taken. Technology, sustainability, philanthropy are only but a few ways the private family offices of today will make their mark in history.

 

The Sir Anthony Ritossa Global Family Office Investment Summit is a series of private forums held each year in Monaco, Dubai, and Riyadh.

To the new friends made in Monaco, I sincerely hope to meet you again at one of the following summits or in the virtual space before then.

A special thank you to both Sir Anthony Ritossa, Vanessa Eriksson, and the Ritossa Family Office team for hosting the event, showing us all that leadership actions can be taken even in times of pandemic.