It’s not every day one has the opportunity to work behind the curtain for an event like that of Anthony Ritossa’s Global Family Office Investment Summit. The Chairman of Ritossa Family Office, Anthony Ritossa, hosted the 7th annual summit under the High Patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum in Dubai, from 10–12 November 2018.
The invitation-only gathering, held at the Four Seasons Resort Jumeirah Beach, was attended by over 35 UHNW royal families and 400 leading entrepreneurs from the UAE, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the US – representing more than US$2 trillion in investor wealth.
Anthony's right hand in Dubai
"The 7th Global Family Office Summit event in Dubai was a crowning achievement for Anthony Ritossa and everyone who participated. The summit is recognised as the largest and most exclusive worldwide family office gathering of all time and it is an honour to provide patronage to such an illustrious event. Similar to past Summits, many prominent families from around the world gathered for high-level discussions on how to enrich the family legacy, grow, preserve wealth, and share ideas. We look forward to future events.” – Mohamed Al Ali, CEO & Advisor, Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum International Investments Enterprise, UAE.
Giuseppe Ambrosio, President of the Monaco Single and Multi-Family Office International Association explains that the attending families are very loyal to Anthony, many of them opting out of other engagements to attend his summits. What makes these events exceptional is that they are organised by a family office for like-minded family offices, he adds.
Anthony’s summits are an extension of his identity and he takes great care in selecting participants. There is an elite presence of cross-border leadership. The quality of the attending family offices, fund managers, asset managers and entrepreneurs is very high and the ambience is that of a family reunion.
Anthony’s summits are an extension of his identity, and he takes great care in selecting participants. There is an elite presence of cross-border leadership.
“I carefully curate my events and I spend a lot of time getting to know the attendees,” explains Anthony. “The waiting list is long and I need to make sure that every participant is a perfect fit, that they share similar core values with the other members.”
Anthony was inspired to create his summit after attending many others for years. “I cherrypicked the best aspects of the different conferences and created our first summit in Dubai with 60 delegates. Since then, we have grown to become the largest family gathering in the world.”
Giuseppe says he is honoured to have started a partnership with Anthony three years ago and acknowledges the importance of giving back to the community. “It’s about working with one’s heart; when you work with your heart, chances are you will be successful.”
Giuseppe’s family office association currently represents 35 selected families and multi-family offices and he plans to extend this to 50 families by the end of 2019. However, Giuseppe stresses that his association is based on quality over quantity.
Meet the family
The CEO Magazine attended 7th Global Family Office Summit to meet Anthony and his delegates. Here, we introduce you to some of them and share their thoughts on success and leadership.
His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Yugoslavia speaks of the mission, and the responsibility of bearing the royal crest. “Being a prince, gives me the opportunity of doing a lot of good around me,” he says. Prince Michael is involved in several growth projects that are dear to his heart such as technology and education, and it is important to him to be a positive influence in these areas.
The empathy shown by His Imperial Highness Prince Ermias Sahle-Selassie Haile-Selassie for his people is touching. “Any leadership is based on serving one’s people,” he says. “Power comes with great responsibility and the possibilities are endless if one is ready to serve.” His Imperial Highness is engaged in fostering education in Ethiopia for enhanced unity, as well as in making clean water readily available throughout the country.
The prince describes luxury as being able to give one’s time to worthwhile causes. “It’s about being a good communicator and a good listener. If you can do this then you are already half way there to solving the problem.” He is currently sponsoring scholarships for Ethiopian students as 70% of the population is under the age of 30. It is vital to him to convey a message of hope to his people, reiterating the need for working together as a team and building on each other’s strengths instead of generating conflict.
Entrepreneurs on a mission
Sitting down with the visionary Sam Simon, Founder and Chairman of Simon Group Holdings was a stimulating experience. Simon Group acquires companies in need of a strategic financial investment partner. Sam moved to the US from Armenia when he was young and though he is appreciative of the American dream, he maintains his success has come from a lot of hard work. Today, he manages 15 companies, and his current interests cover energy, aerospace, real estate and technology.
Other than working hard, his secret to success can be condensed into two words: empathy and team-building. It is important for Sam to be surrounded by the right people, with the right mindset. He hires associates with a similar fervour and hunger to win. “We invest in people, not businesses,” he emphasises. “When I interview candidates, I ask them ‘What is your ultimate dream job?’ As that will be the job they will love doing and excel at. I look for someone who wants to have a career, not a job.”
The core values at Simon Group are based on passion, driving solutions, innovation and collaboration. Sam’s biggest life lesson was the passing of his father, from whom he learned to always do his job well, be trustworthy and have a good reputation.
Another ingenious entrepreneur with a clear mission is Armand Arton, whose platform Arton Capital empowers UHNW individuals and families to become global citizens by investing in a second residency and citizenship around the world.
Armand has found his niche in global citizenship, which represents 0.1% of global migration and US$20 billion in yearly revenue. This is a smart way for developing countries and small islands to attract much-needed capital. Armand is driven to supporting these fragile economies, by creating infrastructure and jobs for SMBs.
His aim is to create a homogeneous and peaceful world, one that is free of the tensions caused by race, religion and social scrutiny. Luxury for Armand is the freedom to move around the world without restriction. He is excited by the prospect of facilitating the one thing that is out of his clients’ control – their citizenship – and to improve their status and that of their families for generations to come.
The next big thing
An entrepreneur is often someone with a low boredom threshold, founding many start-ups, someone who has a hunch about what the next big thing is going to be. This applies to Nick Ayton, a blockchain thought leader, a crypto entrepreneur and an investor with more than a dozen start-ups under his belt.
As Founder and CEO of Chainstarter & Family Office Crypto Advisor, Nick has a burning desire to making a difference by advocating a financial system that cannot be manipulated by the privileged and powerful, and distribute a payment system such as bitcoin that cannot be tampered with.
Cryptocurrency is Nick’s luxury; no longer under the mercy of the ‘Big Man’, he has the freedom to do what he wants, when he wants.
Also present at the summit was influential Ali Al Khamis, Founder of GaussInsights, who empowers businesses in the Middle East and North Africa with game-changing machine intelligence technologies based on big data.
The loss of his father changed Ali’s worldview. For him, leadership is about giving back to his community and learning constantly from his surroundings. Ali says his businesses never fail to energise him. Entrepreneurship should not be a struggle, he insists, but should be a continuous flow of positivity, fine-tuning and embracing the right attitude.
Following the advice of Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi’s ruler for 38 years, whose vision was to create the perfect environment and the perfect human, Ali goes the extra mile to replicate the ruler’s vision in his own enterprises. Luxury for Ali is capitalising on time; not the billions in his bank account.
In pursuit of excellence
Being a perfectionist and a stickler for detail is what Car Fund MD Richard Hawken holds dear. Not only is he an exemplar of excellence, but is also obsessed with classic and collectible cars. After 20 years of trading equity, he is reverting to his childhood passion with the creation of a car fund, a private family office and a luxury car storage facility in Dubai.
Precision is Richard’s definition of leadership, and he happily applies his OCD to his work to ensure his fund is superior to the competition. Leadership to him is also recognising one’s passion and pursuing it as soon as possible. And luxury is quality products built with care. “Everything about me has to be quality,” he affirms. “Everything I buy – whether cars or homes, need to be perfect; if not, I get really uncomfortable. I don’t care about the brand, I just love the quality.”
James R. Hedges IV, founder of Hedges Company, advisor and counsellor to both entrepreneurs and investors, grew up in an environment of UHNW families and private investors. He is therefore familiar with the needs of the young ultra-rich and knows how to deliver the right hedge fund products to them.
Leadership to him is being one step ahead of the game, understanding what the next big investment opportunity is. He describes being consumed by the environment social governance space, looking at ways of making impact investments that reflect his values and are also profitable for his clients.
For Michael Young, CEO of Mediatrix Capital Inc., an industry-leading independent trading advisor of foreign currency, leadership is finding the right partners with aligned personalities, and shared core values, work ethic and chemistry. Michael says leadership is being persistent and accepting that you might go bust a few times before you reach that sweet spot.
Luxury is embracing the right mindset, and having gratitude; to experience joy with the people around you regardless of the material success you are experiencing at that moment.
Feeling like a million dollars
Nick Woodward, the founder of ETZ Payments, sees leadership as recognising that you are an entrepreneur at heart, and building a trustworthy team with competent partners who can deliver the job. You achieve more, faster and more efficiently with the right team by your side, he avers.
Nick’s next venture is to open his own bank. He feels that modern banks have the wrong strategy, digitising their entire practice and discarding customer service.
“Twenty years ago, our bank manager knew what we were up to, they knew about our business and ultimately helped us grow. Today, that personalised attention is lacking. We need a new breed of banks and that is what I want to create: customer service for start-up entrepreneurs; serving their needs and meeting their expectations. Customer service has become a luxury in today’s world, which is a shame, as it should be a given.”
Hunter Horsley, co-founder and CEO of Bitwise Asset Management, pioneered the first cryptocurrency index fund, and shares the belief that successful leadership is assembling the perfect team.
Feeling privileged is a leading mindset. Hunter is happy to be serving his team and his clients and that he was the first to file an application for an exchange traded fund, a unique moment.
John Belizaire, CEO of Soluna, is using his leadership to build the next-grade infrastructure in the form of a wind farm in Southern Morocco, combining renewable energy and blockchain computing.
Entrepreneurship is leaving a legacy and John is implementing a training program in Morocco for future experts in clean renewable energy. This platform will be replicated around the world, specifically in emerging markets such as central Africa, Asia and South America.
Leadership, to him, is building a mosaic of knowledge and experience. John has a laser focus on what he wants to achieve from his target team, capital and community partnerships. He says luxury is experiences: “I love to travel, and I am fortunate to have a wife who shares my passion for discovering new cultures around the world.”
After two days in the company of Anthony, his close-knit team and loyal entourage, it is clear his confidence, humility and gratitude – permeate all aspects of this special summit. “You have to know your delegates at a human level if you want to serve them exceptionally,” he says of his approach. Whether they are royalty, UHNW individuals, entrepreneurs or investors, all attendees of this summit, are sure to leave it feeling like a million dollars.
Words by Vanessa Eriksson, The Globe-Trotting PR