Family Office Leaders are Eager for Insights

Family Office Leaders are Eager for Insights

ILLUSTRATION: GETTY IMAGES

Single-family offices serving the financial and wealth management interests of rich families have become a growing force in global markets as wealth has boomed.

In the last 10 years, the number of single-family offices managing wealth management, investing and philanthropic needs for families with at least $200 million has doubled to as many as 15,000, according to Citi Private Bank. Yet little is known about how many of these offices—managing several trillion dollars of assets—operate. Even executives who run single-family offices are often in the dark about what their peers do.

But unlike the past, these execs are not as worried about privacy and confidentiality—they want to reach out and learn from other family offices. They view their role as more as an emissary for the families they serve, rather than a “gatekeeper,” keeping other outside experts at bay, says Stephen Campbell, chairman of Citi Private Bank’s global family office group, and the former chief investment officer of a large Seattle-based family office.

One way the veil can be lifted is by getting family office executives together, which private banks and wealth managers that serve them as advisors and bankers, try to do. In fact, many single-family office practitioners, once happy to work alone, are now eager for insights they can gain from their peers and will seek out opportunities to network with the right people, Campbell says.

“We’ve seen a significant pick up in interest in (learning) what’s working, what’s not working and how they can learn from the mistakes of others,” he says.

A familiar adage in financial services is that, “if you’ve seen one family office, you’ve seen one family office,” meaning, no two are alike. But the truth is, the operations of most family offices are very much the same, he says. Most of them have to manage investment portfolios, estate planning and philanthropy, as well as paying bills and handling legal affairs.

“Where they differ is in areas of culture and values, and in the governance biases and practices of the family,” he says.

Campbell’s insights are well-founded: Citi works with 1,100 family offices, most of them serving a single family. Most also use Citi as their primary bank, he says.

How families communicate with the offices that run their wealth management needs is one area that can differ wildly. One of the families Citi works with, for example, established a family office in a separate jurisdiction from where they lived, a practice that can provide tax advantages. The office was set up nine years ago with a staff to run it, but as of today, no one in the family has ever been there, Campbell says.

At the other extreme, a principal member of another family that works with Citi goes into his family office every Thursday, sometimes with other family members, and they cook a meal together with the staff. “Oddly enough, those are both models that work,” he says.

Citi has found families are willing to share what’s worked for them on a range of topics if they can exchange ideas with families of a similar wealth level and degree of sophistication. Two years ago, the private bank began a “family office leadership program” in New York, which includes 125 family-office executives serving the world’s “most affluent families,” Campbell says. The event has now spread to programs in Hong Kong and Dubai, and elsewhere to accommodate demand.

Because it’s difficult to cover all the topics families want to discuss, Citi is now rolling out a series of articles and white papers on nitty-gritty topics, like, “why family offices are increasingly relying upon bespoke remuneration packages to attract top executive talent” and “how grooming tomorrow’s family leaders can help preserve family wealth and influence and prevent discord in the family.”

There are a lot of “how-to” manuals on how to set up and run a family office, Campbell says, but “the nuance is in how and when to apply these concepts, and that’s what we’re tackling with these articles.”

[“Source-barrons”]

5 Insights Entrepreneurs Who Go to the Gym Gain About Themselves

5 Insights Entrepreneurs Who Go to the Gym Gain About Themselves

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You don’t have to be a Harvard business grad to have a successful career as an entrepreneur. Similarly, you don’t have to be an intense CrossFitter to get in shape, but there are plenty of ways in which having a strong body and mind will benefit you in both life and business.

We often underestimate how strong we are in both our body and our mind. Many of us lack the confidence to put ourselves to the test. But to achieve our goals, we need to push ourselves, trust our instincts and be disciplined in going after what we want. To make big gains, start by taking a detour to the gym.

Here are the five insights you will gain if you become as committed to the gym as you are to your business.

1. You are tougher than you think.

It takes a great deal of work to transform your body or your business. When you put in the hard work at the gym, it improves your energy and stamina, and helps you stay focused. But more than that, getting a good sweat on can actually make you more resilient to stress.

Exercise reorganizes the brain so that it doesn’t allow stress and anxiety to interfere as much with brain function. In essence, exercise can make both your body and your mind stronger and more flexible. The harder you push yourself, the more you realize that you are stronger and tougher than you think. If you dig deep, you can go farther and faster than you thought possible.

We all know that resilience is a cornerstone to building a successful business. Being able to bounce back from a difficult situation is key to being able to move forward and eventually flourish. An entrepreneur must stay levelheaded during the lean times, as well as when business is bountiful.

What better way to teach yourself to be nimble and juggle priorities than to train your body to be resilient in the gym? Along the way, you’ll build confidence, and gain adaptability and flexibility.

Related: This Entrepreneur Lives in the Back Room at a Gym While Building His Business

2. It’all about mindset.

Any given year around January 1, if you ask people what their New Year’s resolution is, many will say they want to get in shape or lose weight or be healthier. But how many people actually accomplish this goal?

Many fall short because they don’t get themselves into the right frame of mind to accomplish their goal. They don’t follow through, set realistic expectations or commit to healthy habits to make it happen. They fail to develop the right mindset.

They will probably keep setting the same goal — and keep failing — year after year, unless they do something to shake things up and change their habits. If you want to succeed, you have to believe you can. Then you have set about making real changes to put you on the right path. Finally, you need to keep going for the long haul.

The same thing is true for an entrepreneur who wants to build a successful business. Often there isn’t a huge difference between one entrepreneur and another. Their mindset and determination are what set them apart. If you want to create a successful business, you have to stop letting fear or lack of confidence hold you back. You have to have purpose and a vision to succeed.

3. More is possible with strong core.

When you work out, you’ve got to do more than just exercise your arms and legs. To truly get in shape, you’ve got to build your core muscles. Without a solid core to support you, you’ll end up with a lot of physical ailments and injuries, and unable to accomplish your workout regime.

The same thing goes for business. You’ve got to build the core of your business. Why are you doing this? Who are your customers? What makes you stand out? You need to decide what your business is focused on and then make sure you keep that focus, even as you build other elements.

Having a strong foundation will allow you to expand and contract as needed with market fluctuations. If you fail to build your core, you will flop.

Related: 5 Elements That Shape the Core of a Strong Startup

4. It’marathon, not sprint.

You can’t just show up on day one and expect to kill it. It doesn’t work like that, either in business or at the gym. Your strength and endurance can only be built slowly.

If you push yourself too far, too fast, you may hit burnout before you reach your goal. What matters is being persistent, showing up day in and day out. Sometimes the biggest accomplishment is being able to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving toward your goal.

You have to know when to press forward, when to work on gaining strength, when to throttle back and when to give it your all. Any transformation you go through will be painful. But if you want to accomplish your goals, you’ve got to push through the pain.

It’s easy to do nothing: to sit on the couch and accept being average. But if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you’ve got to be in it for the long haul. The same thing goes for the gym.

Related: My Journey From Couch-Surfing Kid to Tech Engineer

5. Get your creative juices flowing.

When you work out, you’re giving your body a chance to exert energy, to burn off stress, to focus on the here and now and let go of issues that have been plaguing you.

A good workout session can feel like a chance to purge your body through sweat, but it can also be cathartic for your mind. Working out reduces stress and helps you focus. But more than that, it’s also a great way to open yourself up to new ideas.

The gym can be a great place to get both your brain and your body working outside the box. It can give you that mental spark you’ve been looking for. One study shows that those who work out regularly do better on tests of creativity than those who are sedentary. Moving your body can help you overcome mental blocks and go deeper into a problem.

Scientists now recognize that intense exercise helps your brain produce brain-derived neutrophic factor, an important protein that helps stimulate the process of neurogenesis, which is the growth of new brain cells. What more do you need to know to convince you to hit the gym?

[“Source-entrepreneur”]

New insights into the origins of mutations in cancer

Image result for New insights into the origins of mutations in cancer

Researchers at the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), the University of Dundee and the Wellcome Sanger Institute have used human and worm data to explore the mutational causes of cancer. Their study, published today in Genome Research, also shows that results from controlled experiments on a model organism — the nematode worm C. elegans — are relevant to humans, helping researchers refine what they know about cancer.

Enigmatic DNA mutation and repair

Cancer is caused by DNA mutations which can be triggered by a range of factors, including UV radiation, certain chemicals and smoking, but also errors occurring naturally during cell division. A cell recognises most of these mutations and corrects them through multiple repair mechanisms. However, DNA repair is not perfect, so it can leave certain mutations unrepaired or repair them incorrectly leading to changes in DNA. Understanding the footprints of these mutational processes is an important first step in identifying the causes of cancer and potential avenues for new treatments.

“The DNA mutations we see in cancer cells were caused by a yin and yang of DNA damage and repair,” explains Moritz Gerstung, Research Group Leader at EMBL-EBI. “When we study a patient’s cancer genome, we’re looking at the final outcome of multiple mutational processes that often go on for decades before the disease manifests itself. The reconstruction of these processes and their contributions to cancer development is a bit like the forensic analysis of a plane crash site, trying to piece together what’s happened. Unfortunately, there’s no black box to help us.

Controlled experiments in model organisms can be used to mimic some of the processes thought to operate on cancer genomes and to establish their exact origins.”

What worms can tell us

Previous research has shown that one of the first DNA repair pathways associated with an increased risk of cancer is DNA mismatch repair (MMR). The current study uses C. elegans as a model system for studying MMR in more detail.

“Dr Bettina Meier in my team initiated this project by assessing the kinds of mutations that arise when C. elegans is defective for one specific DNA repair pathway,” says Professor Anton Gartner, Principal Investigator in the Centre for Gene Regulation and Expression at Dundee. “As it only takes three days to propagate these worms from one generation to the next, the process of studying how DNA is passed on is greatly expedited. DNA mismatch repair is propagated for many generations and this allowed us to deduce a distinct mutational pattern. The big question was if the same type of mutagenesis also occurred in human cancer cells.”

To address this question, EMBL-EBI PhD student Nadia Volkova compared the C. elegans results with genetic data from 500 human cancer genomes.

“We found a resemblance between the most common signature associated with mutations in MMR genes in humans and the patterns found in nematode worms,” explains Volkova. “This suggests that the same mutational process operates in nematodes and humans. Our approach allows us to find the exact profile of MMR deficiency and to understand more about what happens when DNA repair goes wrong.”

These findings could lead to a better understanding of the causes of cancer and potentially help to identify the most appropriate treatment.

[“Source-sciencedaily”]

Peptides offer fresh insights for cancer diagnosis and treatment

Genes and proteins play essential roles in the maintenance of health and the development of disease and are the focus of the fields of genomics and proteomics, respectively.

Genes, which are composed of 4 nucleic acids, provide the blueprint for constructing all living forms, while proteins, which are composed of some 20 amino acids, are the body’s tireless day laborers, building organs and tissues, forming a complex defense network of antibodies, transporting essential materials to far-flung destinations in the body and facilitating essential chemical reactions.BRCA1 is a human gene that produces tumor suppressor proteins, which repair damaged DNA and help maintain the stability of each cell’s genetic material. Mutations in this gene (and the related gene BRCA2), can disable this repair network, resulting in an increased risk of breast cancer. In the graphic, tumor-associated proteins resulting from mutations in BRCA1 are degraded into smaller fragments or peptides, which circulate in the bloodstream. These circulating peptides are then enriched using specialized nanoporous silica thin films or NanoTraps, then profiled using mass spectrometry to identify among four clinical groups. Such research may help clinicians determine which carriers of BRCA1 mutations are most likely to progress to breast cancer.Download Full Image

Less well known are the peptides, though they too are central players in life processes and can shed new light on a variety of diseases. Indeed, the rapidly expanding field of peptide research or peptidomics is poised to deliver fresh biological insights and new methods for the detection and treatment of a broad range of disorders, particularly cancer.

A new book, “The Enzymes: Peptidomics of Cancer-Derived Enzyme Products,” explores the peptidome in keen detail. The particular focus of the book is how peptides, small segments of linked amino acids, can provide researchers and clinicians with vital clues about cancer prognosis currently unavailable through conventional diagnostic methods.

Tony Hu, a researcher in Arizona State University’s Virginia G. Piper Biodesign Center for Personalized Diagnostics, co-edited the new book.

“Back in 2016, I was invited to UCLA to give a seminar. I talked with a professor there — Fuyuhiko Tamanoi — who served for many years as the editor for the book series ‘Enzyme,’” Hu said. “After he heard a bit about emerging peptide research, he decided it would make a fine topic for a new book, so we invited experts worldwide, from Europe, from China, Japan and the U.S. to explore different aspects of the peptidome.”

As Hu explained, the book is divided into three major areas. The first deals with the discovery of biomarkers — peptide signals present in blood or saliva that can be used for diagnostic purposes. The second part deals with peptide biofunction, which turns out to play a critical role in cancer. The third section is devoted to clinical application and regulation of peptide biomarkers. The book therefore spans research on the peptidome reaching from the laboratory bench to the patient bedside, making it the most comprehensive handbook of leading edge peptidomics to date.

Probing the peptidome

Peptides, like proteins, are composed of amino acids. They are generally far smaller molecules, typically composed of just 50 amino acids or less. They are often produced through the breakdown of larger, more complex proteins. This process of protein degradation is a common feature in cancer progression, invasion and metastasis. In the course of these processes, peptide byproducts of the tumor microenvironment circulate in the bloodstream, providing a potentially rich source of biomarkers for disease.

Although there are myriad cancer-specific proteins secreted by active tumors, which could potentially serve as biomarkers, the challenges of monitoring such proteins — particularly in a clinical environment — are often formidable due to fluctuations in their location and abundance. Hu believes that tumor-secreted peptides, which circulate in the blood, can provide an alternate window into underlying activity, providing more fine-grained diagnoses of a given cancer than can be gleaned from either the genes or proteins alone.

ASU researcher Tony Hu’s new book, “The Enzymes: Peptidomics of Cancer-Derived Enzyme Products,” focuses on the role of peptides in cancer detection and therapy. Photo by Deanna Dent/ASU Now

 A new field is born

“About 15 years ago, people started looking at peptides,” Hu said.

Peptides are a rich source of information about the proteins they are derived from and also can shed light on the body’s enzymatic network. As Hu explained, enzymatic activity is often a crucial component in cancer progression, but getting a precise handle on tumor-related enzyme activity has, until recently, proved challenging.

“We published a paper in Clinical Chemistry back in 2014,” Hu said. “There’s an enzyme that is pretty active at the local tumor site in breast cancer. When we profile this enzyme on the tumor tissue, it’s showing this dramatically increased expression compared to normal.”

The enzyme, however, dissolves in the blood and is undetectable. Testing such cancer patients shows blood enzyme levels close to normal.

This presents clinicians with two options: 1) Use a very invasive method to biopsy the tumor tissue in order to profile the enzyme directly, or 2) look at the peptide product produced by the enzyme, which can be profiled directly from the blood. When Hu and colleagues used this approach, they found a variation in peptide expression that precisely matched the enzyme activity at the tumor site. The results encouraged Hu that peptides indeed have much to tell us about underlying disease.

In other cases, the peptide itself is malfunctioning, which may be correlated with tumor progression. Further, peptides can provide vital clues concerning a tumor’s surrounding microenvironment, for example signaling a condition of low oxygen or hypoxia, an important precursor of cancer metastasis and an area of research Hu is currently involved in.

Another critical peptide under study is Hepcidin, a 25-amino acid peptide synthesized in the liver, which serves as the principle regulator of iron metabolism in vertebrates. It can also be used as a telltale indicator of elevated iron status, inflammation and infection associated with diseases including cancer and HIV.

In order to profile peptides from blood samples, mass spectroscopy is used, a technique allowing peptides to be accurately identified based on their molecular weights. Once an exotic technology confined to sophisticated laboratories, cutting-edge mass spec technology is now common in hospital settings around the world, further enabling peptide biomarker discovery to advance and enter routine clinical use.

Finding new avenues

As the authors note, specialized enzymes involved in protein degradation — known as proteases — are involved in all phases of cancer progression including early growth, angiogenesis, inflammation, survival and invasion. Their peptide byproducts offer insights into all of these processes. Evaluation of inflammation through peptide analysis could also be used as a rapid and direct indicator of drug toxicity in chemotherapy, a process that currently must rely on patient symptomatology.

Finally, advances in biotechnology have allowed a new class of safe and efficacious peptide drugs to be developed, furthering the aims of personalized medicine. Immunotherapy, in which the patients’ own immune system is used to attack cancer cells, is just one area where peptides are being applied therapeutically. The immune system responds to a cancer-linked peptide by mounting a robust defense — a technique currently being explored in the fight against prostate cancer.

“For these reasons, we believe peptides have been undervalued for a long time in cancer studies,” Hu said.

Accurate, early diagnostic and prognostic markers are still lacking for most cancers, posing the most significant challenge for successful diagnosis and treatment. Vital information, unavailable through proteomic study, is now becoming accessible through sensitive detection of circulating peptides. The new book throws light on an exciting and hopeful domain of research.

[“Source-asunow”]