The transition from SFO to MFO


Pierre Sasaki began his entrepreneurial adventures as a manager of macro-hedge funds. He is currently a member of the management of SDS Family Office. Sasaki started SDS Family Office when he opened his single-family office, CGS Associates, to other families.

russian prince: Can you tell us how you went from managing a macro-hedge fund to managing member of the SDS Family Office?

Pierre Sasaki: I had spent 30 years practicing global macroeconomic strategies that based investments on macroeconomic and geopolitical trends. I started at JP Morgan and then hedge fund firm Moore Capital Management. In 2000, I created my own fund, Logos Capital. After 10 years leading Logos Global Funds, I decided to focus on investing my own capital. I was also interested in accessing expertise beyond investing, which is why CGS Associates became a traditional single-family office.

Over time, three things happened. First, the investment strategies I was using were proving to be very profitable. Second, I was spending more and more time talking to other investors, many of whom were single-family offices. This has led a few of us to consolidate our single-family offices under one entity, sometimes referred to as a multi-single-family office. This allowed us to take advantage of the benefits of scale. Third, I was getting more involved with successful entrepreneurs who wanted to work with SDS Family Office and become clients.

The result is that today, SDS Family Office is a more traditional multi-family office. We are open to successful new customers; however, we are selective about who we agree to work with. We really want there to be a strong cultural and philosophical fit.

Prince: Please describe your investment approach.

sasaki: I have served on the investment committees of several endowment funds and family foundations, and I strongly believe in the “endowment fund model” as the best way to minimize risk and maximize long-term return. I apply asset class and strategy diversification to traditional equity and fixed income portfolios by adding real asset, private equity and absolute return strategies.

Additionally, I bring my experience in global macro investing and will often steer asset class exposure around the benchmark depending on where the economy is in the business cycle. It’s also important to note that endowments and foundations have distinct advantages in that they can access top investment managers (often closed to new clients) and be treated as tax-exempt, so at SDS Family Office, we spend a lot of time securing access for senior managers.

Another key aspect of our investment approach is the integration of tax planning. There are several ways to do this depending on the needs and wants of the client and their taxing jurisdiction. A very effective way to reduce taxes on an investment portfolio is to place the investments in a private placement life insurance policy. Doing so requires paying attention to a number of factors, including the client’s time horizon, other investments, and tax situation.

Prince: How do you meet the non-investment needs and desires of successful families?

sasaki: At SDS Family Office, we primarily focus on investment management, financial risk management and tax mitigation, but being able to resolve issues on behalf of clients is extremely important. We need to understand exactly what they want to achieve and figure out the best possible path. It’s all about the human element. Some of the questions we spend a lot of time on include: What are our client’s specific goals and objectives? What types of opportunities are they looking to take advantage of? What keeps them up at night? With this information, we are able to offer a wide range of solutions to our customers, as we have put together a team of carefully selected specialists.

Concierge medicine, for example, is a great fit for many successful entrepreneurs. The ability to obtain exceptional medical care quickly, wherever it is in the world, as well as access to leading specialist doctors is in high demand. Knowing this, we have identified and reviewed some of the best concierge medical practices around the world. Our team of external experts covers a range of areas such as law, accounting, insurance, banking, complex financial transactions and family security.

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