Who We Are
The Institute for Family Governance (IFG) is a forum for trusted advisors (from the legal, consulting, and academic professions) for some of the wealthiest families in the world, as well as the multi-generational business owning or financial families themselves, and the chief executives of their private family offices (referred to as the stakeholders).
IFGs mission is to help implement strong governance that endures. This is achieved through multi-disciplinary collaboration and know-how exchange among the trusted advisors and the families they serve.
We believe governance is the next great area of planning, and while tax considerations will remain crucial, governance often has a larger long-term impact on value creation for a family. Many entrepreneurial families see the importance of governance in their own businesses, and much of the knowledge can be directly applied to the successful stewardship of family wealth. This emerging field has a small number of thought leaders.
IFG's main forum is its annual conference in January. The conference program is produced with meticulous care taking into consideration the most salient and timely topics around governance and bringing together some of the leading experts from the international governance field. The objective of the conference is to create a confidential setting for all stakeholders to interact, share their experience, discuss crucial ideas, and take away solutions and key learning points. The speakers represent some of the most influential voices with prominent families and owners of closely held businesses.
We believe IFG is the only full one-day conference solely focused on governance for private wealth with a particular focus on execution. There is a significant need to move beyond awareness of the importance of governance to help advisors and the families they serve to get into the details of how to practically implement family governance by successfully integrating legal, consulting, and investment advice. Surprising to many, there is, in fact, a growing knowledge of global best practice supported by academic research and practitioner experience.
Membership in IFG is $50 per year and runs on a June 30 fiscal year basis (July 1 through June 20). Members are entitled to use the preferential IFG member conference rate when registering for IFG events, provided they are IFG members at the time they register for an event (it does not matter if the event is held in the following fiscal year). In addition, each IFG member will be provided with a password that allows such member to access to the IFG Know How.
"The inaugural IFG/STEP conference was extraordinarily well done. Most family office conferences have a heavy emphasis on investment trends and solutions. I was very pleased to find that the conference was devoted to family governance issues, such as empowering trust beneficiaries, understanding cross-cultural differences and using technology to enhance communication with family office constituents. The material was solid and the presenters were well chosen. Next year’s conference is a can’t-miss event."
Daniel F. Lindley
Fiduciary Practice Lead, Global Family & Private Investment Offices
Northern Trust Company
"Upon returning from the Institute for Family Governance Annual Conference, I recommended to my colleagues and clients they plan to attend with me in 2018. The entire agenda was directly relevant to the clients we serve – international families with substantial multi-generational wealth. The subject matter ranged from legal issues, to technology trends, to multi-cultural family dynamics and family constitutions. The speakers were engaging, the audience was enthusiastic, and the open exchange of ideas was valuable. As a result, I now have more resources to help my clients with some of their most important challenges.”
Stephen J. Tall, CTFA, TEP
Chief Operating Officer, Perspecta Trust
“The inaugural IFG conference provided an in-depth analysis of governance as it relates to the family enterprise. Geared toward private client advisors and presented by thought leaders in their respective fields, the content was well thought-out and yielded actionable tools. Given that the ‘soft issues’ often determine a family’s long-term success or failure, this conference is a must for advisors working with multigenerational families.”
Partner, Willow Street Group
Leadership and Advisory Board Members
Babetta von Albertini, Ph.D. | Chair
Babetta von Albertini is the Chair of the Institute for Family Governance. She is an expert on U.S. tax law and governance who has advised international families and closely held businesses for approaching 20 years. She is General Counsel of ATM Capital Partners LLC, a single-family office, and separately continues to advise large international and domestic families on their tax, governance, and succession planning. Babetta is a dual-qualified common law/civil law attorney (admitted to the bars of New York and Zurich, Switzerland) and holds a Tax LL.M. from NYU and a Ph.D. in law from the University of Zurich. Previously an international estate planning attorney with Withers for nine years and a corporate finance attorney with Shearman and Sterling for three years, Babetta currently also serves as an elected U.S. representative on the STEP Global Council.
John E. Oden | Vice-Chair
John is a Principal and twenty-five year veteran of AllianceBernstein ("AB"), a global money management and research firm with over U.S. $500 billion under management through forty-eight offices in twenty-three countries. He has senior responsibilities in working with the firm’s non-U.S. and offshore clients, and currently heads the firm’s family office and private wealth business in Asia, in addition to similar client responsibilities in the U.S. John is the Founder of the China-U.S. Business Alliance, an organization of the senior professional advisors in both the U.S. and Asia who concentrate their business activities in China. He is a former Chairman of the New York Branch of STEP. Prior to AB, John spent ten years in real estate investment banking as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Cushman & Wakefield in New York, responsible globally for the firm’s business with financial institutions, including oversight for joint venture relationships in Japan and the U.K. John has served on numerous non-profit and charitable boards and investment committees, including Southwestern University, the St. George’s Society of New York, the Merchant’s House Museum of New York, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Greater Tumen Initiative in Beijing, China. A strong supporter of athletics, John writes and speaks about the sport of boxing. His first book, White Collar Boxing – One Man’s Journey From the Office to the Ring, was published in 2005. It was followed in 2009 by Life in the Ring – Lessons & Inspirations from the Sport of Boxing. He holds BA and MBA degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D. | Vice-Chair
Dr. Jaffe, a San Francisco-based advisor to families about family business, governance, wealth and philanthropy, recently completed the working papers Governing the Family Enterprise: The Evolution of Family Councils, Assemblies and Constitutions, Releasing the Potential of the Rising Generation, and Good Fortune: Building a Hundred Year Family Enterprise, published by Wise Counsel Research, based on his current research with global multi-generational family enterprises.
He is author (or co-author) of Cross Cultures: How Global Families Negotiate Change Across Generations; Stewardship in your Family Enterprise: Developing Responsible Family Leadership Across Generations, and Working With the Ones You Love, as well as management books Rekindling Commitment, Getting Your Organization to Change and Take this Work and Love It. His global insights have led to teaching or consulting engagements in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. The Family Firm Institute recently awarded him the 2017 International Award for service, and in 2005 he received the Beckhard Award for service to the field. He has a BA degree in Philosophy, MA in Management, and Ph.D. in sociology, all from Yale University, and is professor emeritus of organizational systems and psychology at Saybrook University in San Francisco.
John W. Ambrecht | Advisory Board
John W. Ambrecht is a senior partner at Ambrecht and McDermott and focuses his practice on integrating sophisticated estate and tax planning with family business succession planning, including developing appropriate transitional structures with an emphasis on conflict resolution among generations and constructing a lasting framework for family business management and ownership succession. John’s practice also includes sophisticated multi-state domestic trusts and estate planning, national and international asset protection, and tax controversies (IRS).
Barbara R. Hauser, J.D., M.A., TEP | Advisory Board
Barbara combines a strong trusts & estates legal background (Wellesley College, Penn Law, U.S. Supreme Court Clerkship, law firm partnerships) with a current advisory role for wealthy families and their family offices.
She has worked with many global families, including in Saudi Arabia, is the author of International Family Governance and International Estate Planning. She is the Advisory Editor of the STEP Global Family Office Handbook and of the fourth edition of Trusts in Prime Jurisdictions. She has been appointed to serve as Editor-in-Chief of The International Family Offices Journal. She chairs the international committee for the U.S. journal Trusts & Estates. She also founded the Linked In group “International Family Governance.”
She helps families create Family Constitutions, Family Councils, and Family Offices, and also provides an independent evaluation of family trust documents. She is an independent Board member of the Pitcairn Company, a recognized leader in the family office industry.
Barbara has received a number of awards and is active in The International Academy of Estate and Trust Law, l’Union Internationale des Avocats, the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, the Wealth Advisors Forum and the Collaboration for Family Flourishing. She has published articles in STEP and FFI. She is a frequent speaker for groups in many countries.
Edouard Thijssen | Advisory Board
Edouard Thijssen is one of the Co-Founders of Trusted Family. With a passion for technology and innovation, he identified a gap in the market for a communications platform designed for multi-generational business families looking to communicate more efficiently in a secure manner. At age 21, he established Trusted Family.
Edouard is a 2007 graduate of the Solvay Business School, with an undergraduate management degree. He has also completed the Leading the Family Business program at IMD, Switzerland. Edouard was on his way to the London School of Economics when his entrepreneurial instincts drove him to launch Trusted Family. The rest is history. As founder, he led the company as CEO until 2011. Then acted as Head of Americas and concentrated on Business Development and Client Services in North and South America. Today, Edouard serves as Co-Founder and CEO - since September 2016.
IFG is a membership organization that is run for the benefit of its members. Events are priced to break even. Please see our financial summary by clicking here.