Lintz, 58, is on to something. Her 22-year-old firm was No. 2 among the fastest-growing multifamily offices in the second annual Bloomberg Markets ranking of companies that manage affairs for dynastic clans. The assets that FMP supervises grew 30 percent, to $2.6 billion as of Dec. 31, just behind Signature, a Norfolk-based family office that expanded 36 percent in 2011, to $3.6 billion.
In sheer size, the family office units of banks dominate the ranking. Nine of the top 10 are associated with banks. HSBC Private Wealth Solutions is No. 1 by total assets under advisement for the second consecutive year, with $123.6 billion as of Dec. 31, an increase of 21 percent over 2010.
The top family office in assets per family is 1875 Finance of Geneva, which manages the wealth of three multigenerational families, whose assets average $1.7 billion.
It’s easier to grow when you’re small. Even so, of the top 10 fastest-growing firms in the ranking, nine were boutiques such as FMP — small companies often willing to accept thinner profit margins to mind money, prepare taxes, pay bills and arrange the purchase of private-jet shares for the ultrawealthy.
“We’re getting so good at providing things that people didn’t know they wanted,” Lintz says.
She was a financial planner at Chase Manhattan Bank before moving to a sports agency called Bry & Associates, where her clients included professional football and baseball players. Many of them stuck with her when she started her own firm in 1990.
Lintz kicked off her money camp three years ago. She hired a retired math teacher to design the curriculum for the sons and daughters of beer-brewing executives, Internet entrepreneurs and athletes.
Much of this care and feeding comes out of the 30 to 70 basis points against assets that the firm charges the 140 families who use its services. A basis point is 0.01 percentage point.
FMP sometimes charges extra for extraordinary services. Lintz’s profit margins are 20 percent, well below the 40 percent she says traditional asset managers aim to earn.
“Multifamily offices have been trying to figure out a profitable business model for a couple of decades,” says John Davis, chair of the Families in Business program at Harvard Business School. “They are seeing the limits of providing a lot of services.”
Clients can be demanding. One whose assets are overseen by Signature schedules weekly meetings with its staff, founder Susan Colpitts says. The firm manages the client’s money, buys and sells his real estate and helps hire household staff.