Michael Tiedemann, Tiedemann Advisors
The financial education of Michael Tiedemann, CEO of Tiedemann Advisors, began at home — his father, Carl Tiedemann, was a founding partner and later president of the renowned Wall Street investment bank Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette. After graduating from Ohio Wesleyan University and traveling around Latin America, Tiedemann joined the equity research group at Banco Garantia, one of Brazil’s leading investment banks. He lived in Brazil for two years, during which he was promoted to run the bank’s equity sales and trading operations in New York. Two years after Credit Suisse acquired Banco Garantia in 1998, Tiedemann’s father pitched him on starting a new wealth management firm. More than two decades later, New York City-based Tiedemann Advisors is a full-service family office and trust company with nearly $20 billion in assets under management and an average client investment of $60 million. The RIA’s parent company, Tiedemann Group, plans to merge with British money manager Alvarium Investments and go public through a merger with the special purpose acquisition company Cartesian Growth Corp., forming a global powerhouse that would oversee over $50 billion in assets.
What’s the latest purposeful investment you made, and why did you do it?
Home REIT — a homeless solution in the UK, providing shelter and treatment to those struggling and currently unhoused. The clients are often veterans, victims of domestic violence, and may have substance abuse issues. The structure saves the municipalities 50 percent to 60 percent versus their normal solutions to assist this growing population. Homelessness is at scale globally, and this product is rare in that it can grow to scale and fight it better than any other I have seen.
What’s the biggest advantage you have in making investment decisions for the long term?
If you have a sense of where an asset resides against its long-term valuations, and you understand the trend that is supporting the asset’s growth over time, you don’t have to be perfect or precise with your timing to have great success. Caveat: The entry valuation relative to history matters.
What lessons can you share with other family offices — about investing strategies, succession issues and philanthropy?
Volunteerism is perhaps the most underappreciated and important part of philanthropy.
Businesses that lack the ability to transition from a founder or senior leader should be considered practices and will likely be sold.
Values-aligned investing changes the dialogue about family wealth between the generations more than any other approach I have seen in my 25 years in the business.
What wealth strategies and planning tools will help your clients meet their multigenerational goals?
The importance of evaluating your assets and your estate structure consistently and holistically throughout time, not just at a point in time. Many people address at a point in time and then leave alone when asset valuations change, not to mention the tax and estate laws. Having a holistic review of all assets and structures together enables there to be optimization, which otherwise is left unattended to.
What do you know now that you wish you had known 10 years ago?
The expression “This time it’s different” is a great warning sign.
Interview by Charles Paikert, a contributor to Barron’s Advisor and U.S. correspondent for Family Wealth Report. Paikert has written for The New York Times and The Washington Post and is the author of “Madness: The Ten Most Memorable NCAA Basketball Finals.”