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.
Our mission is to help implement strong governance that endures in order to achieve long-term value creation for families. This is accomplished by creating governance that is aligned with beneficiaries’ long-term needs by successfully implementing a sophisticated family governance framework and enhancing its function and efficiency over time. Multi-disciplinary collaboration and know-how exchange among top trusted advisors is crucial—IFG includes thought leaders from legal, consulting, and academic professions. The objective of the conference is to create a confidential setting where the parties can safely interact, share their experiences, discuss crucial ideas, and take away ideas, solutions, and key learning points.
Membership in IFG is $125 per year and runs from September 1 through August 31. Membership benefits include:
(i) access to IFG Know How,
(ii) discounted membership rate for annual conference,and
(iii) discounted membership rate for workshops.
IFG members will be provided with a password that allows access to the IFG Know How.
The IFG annual 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 IFG 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 multi-generational families.
Partner, Willow Street Group
Leadership and Advisory Board Members
Babetta von Albertini, Ph.D. | IFG Founder & Chair
Babetta is the Chair of the Institute for Family Governance. She is an expert on family governance and U.S. tax law and has advised large domestic and international families on their governance and succession planning for approaching 20 years. Babetta currently divides her time between ATM Capital Partners (a SFO), where she serves as General Counsel, and Lansberg Gersick & Associates, where she serves as Senior Counsel. Prior thereto, she was with Withers (a global trusts and estates law firm) for 9 years, and Shearman & Sterling (a capital markets law firm) for 3 years, living and working in New York, London, Switzerland and Hong Kong. Babetta is a dual-qualified common law/civil law attorney (admitted to the bars of New York and Zurich, Switzerland) and holds both a Tax LL.M. and a Corporate LL.M. from NYU, as well as a Ph.D. in law from the University of Zurich, Switzerland. She currently serves as elected U.S. representative on the STEP Global Council (the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners).
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 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.
David R. York | Vice-Chair
David R. York, Esq. CPA is a Co-Founder and Managing Partner of the Salt Lake City law firm York Howell & Guymon. He has extensive experience in designing and implementing advanced tax and estate planning strategies for high net worth clients, along with non-profit and business planning counsel. He is a Fellow with the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), a member of the Utah State Bar Budget and Finance Committee, and former Chair of the Utah State Bar Estate Planning Section. Noted as a Mountain States Rising Star in Super Lawyers Magazine, Utah Legal Elite in Utah Business Magazine and as a Top-Rated Lawyer in Trusts & Estates with Martindale-Hubbell, David has successfully represented clients before the Internal Revenue Service at all levels (Audit, Appeals, and Tax Court). David is co-author of Entrusted: Building A Legacy That Lasts and Riveted: 44 Values That Change the World. He is also the creator of Rivets™ Core Values card game and Rivets™ Certification Training.
Drew Mason | Advisory Board Chair
Drew Mason currently holds the position of managing partner at Jade Capital Management LLC, a private investment fund focusing on venture and growth capital in China’s financial services sector. Prior to Jade Capital, Drew founded the Technology Sector Group in Asia Pacific for UBS Warburg, formerly Dillon, Read & Co., where he worked from 1994 to 2012 in New York, London and Hong Kong. In addition, Drew was instrumental in the founding of Sohu.com, one of the first Chinese companies to list on NASDAQ. Prior to UBS Warburg, he served as an intelligence officer during Operation Desert Storm for the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72). Drew currently serves on the board of China Rapid Finance Limited (NYSE: XRF) since 2005, the advisory board of the U.S. Navy League, New York since 2014, and has been a member of the President of Brown University’s China Council since 2010. He received his MBA from Harvard Business School and his bachelor’s degree in History from Brown University.
Manuel Liatowitsch | Advisory Board Member, IFG Europe (2019)
Manuel Liatowitsch is a Litigation Partner in Schellenberg Wittmer’s Zurich Office. He represents clients in commercial disputes in Swiss courts and international arbitrations, including disputes about family/privately held companies. He also acts as an arbitrator. He further specializes in complex estate disputes and advises entrepreneurs and families on governance and succession in family businesses, and on estate planning and philanthropy. He is a member of the firm's management board. Manuel has authored various publications on private international law and international litigation and is a regular lecturer at the University of Zurich.
Anne Jones | Advisory Board Member (2019)
Anne Jones is the Director of Family Financial and Estate Planning for Simmons Foods & Affiliates, Inc. She works closely with family members and their advisors to serve this multi-generational family in its various financial planning activities, along with directing the family foundation. Anne is passionate about empowering others through effective financial education and teaches personal finance to high-school students. Prior to her role with the Simmons family, Anne worked in the California wine industry. Anne is a CFP® practitioner and completed a Master’s degree in Personal Financial Planning at Kansas State University. She serves as Chair of the Board for the Walton Arts Center Foundation and has served on the Advisory Committee for the Southeastern Family Office Forum (SEFOF).
Christina Lawrence | Advisory Board Member (2019)
Christina Lawrence has extensive experience in advising clients on comprehensive multi-generational succession and legacy planning (including working with families and closely held businesses on planning for liquidity events, income tax mitigation, exit, estate tax and philanthropic strategies). She is fluent in Spanish and graduated with a B.A. in Spanish Studies and Psychology from The American University in Washington, D.C., and later earned her MBA at Thunderbird School of Global Management. Christina is on the Planning Committee for “A Leg To Stand On” (ALTSO), a non-profit organization providing free orthopedic care to over 18,500 “CoolKids” with limb disabilities in the developing world, whose families cannot afford treatment. She is with Barnum Financial Group.
Mitzi Perdue | Advisory Board Member (2018)
Author, speaker, and businesswoman Mitzi Perdue holds a BA with honors degree from Harvard University and an MPA from the George Washington University. She is a past president of the 35,000-member American Agri-Women, she’s a former syndicated columnist for Scripps Howard, and her television series, Country Magazine, was syndicated to 76 stations. She’s the founder of CERES Farms, the family-owned commercial and agricultural real estate investment company that has owned rice fields, commercial and residential real estate, and today, the family vineyards sell wine grapes to wineries such as Mondavi, Bogle, Folie a Deux, and Toasted Head.
Mitzi combines the experiences of two long-time family businesses. Her father Ernest Henderson co-founded the Sheraton Hotel Chain and her late husband Frank Perdue was the second generation in the poultry company that today operates in more than 100 countries.
She loves to point out that the Henderson family business began in 1890 with the Henderson Estate Company. If you combine the 127 years since it began, and the 97 years that Perdue Farms has been in business, she represents 224 of family history.
Recently she authored How to Make Your Family Business Last: Techniques, Advice, Checklists, and Resources for Keeping the Family Business in the Family.
Mitzi Perdue likes nothing better than to share tips for what worked in the two long-running families that she’s a part of.
Rosie von Lila | Advisory Board Member (2018)
Rosie is a Millennial (also known as “an adult under 40”) and our NextGen liaison. She is passionate about politics and governance, and currently works as a management consultant. Based in New York and working frequently in Washington, D.C., the Midwest and California, Rosie speaks around the world on how to increase stakeholder engagement, and advocates for civic participation. She is the creator and host of the What Comes Now podcast, and is an advisor and consultant to Burning Man headquarters. Rosie has been invited to be a guest at the U.S. Pentagon several times, and was a guest lecturer at the U.S. National Defense University. She is frequently invited to participate in strategic discussions about diversity and collaboration. Rosie is a member of NEXUS and formerly served on the Board of Directors for Bay Area Council (BAC), the most powerful trade policy advocacy group in northern California.
John W. Ambrecht | Advisory Board Member (2018)
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).
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.