The Message

Family offices, long a mainstay of privacy and secrecy in the world of family business activities, are now running headlong into governmental rules requiring disclosure of critical ownership information to the government.

Family offices often require burdensome non-disclosure requirements of all with whom they work from attorneys to wealth managers and other service providers. This privacy obsession is now being challenged by the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA). The CTA requires disclosure to a unit of the US Treasury Department, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), of information on the beneficial ownership (BOI) of entities conducting family business activities. While rules are in place permitting only authorized law enforcement agencies and officials to access this information, the potential for unauthorized disclosure is a concern of many stakeholders of family offices.

The New Reality

Historically, there was no legal requirement for the disclosure of the owners of LLCs and trusts, commonly used entities in the creation of family offices. Regrettably, this lack of transparency gave rise to a situation where illicit activities could be shielded from view. Activities like money laundering and tax evasion could be conducted out of view of law enforcement. It was inevitable in today’s world that this situation would not be allowed to continue and now the CTA has been put in place to prevent such secrecy. While some may resist this disclosure, many would argue that it simply reflects security concerns in our modern world and is a consequence of the security state.

Meeting Requirements of the CTA

While the requirements of CTA may seem daunting, embracing the modern reality may be better viewed as a step toward establishing trust in the ethical nature of the activities conducted in the family office. Most family offices are organized using corporations, LLCs and trusts and will need to report Beneficial Ownership Information (BOI) information to FinCEN. Generally, this means the owner’s date of birth, social security number and address. There are exceptions to the reporting requirements of the CTA but these are very technical in nature and failure to properly understand and report under CTA brings severe penalties. Thus, it is imperative to consult professionals who understand the rules precisely to ensure proper reporting under the CTA is done.

Moving Away From the Shadows

The requirements of the CTA represent a watershed event in the family office world. We don’t yet know the full impact of the CTA on family offices. Greater transparency of family offices is the inevitable reality of the CTA. Family offices embracing this reality may be seen as contributing positively to a more ethical and productive financial system.

This blog post should be viewed as informational only and should not be construed as legal advice. You should consult with competent advisors for legal and or technical advice in complying with the CTA.

For more information, you may view FinCen’s Corporate Transparency Act at:

If you are a family office in need of help navigating the CTA, we are happy to assist. For any questions or support, reach out to Doug Kennedy, Partner at CFOs2GO at or 415-770-3840.

Douglas Kennedy, CFO, Family Office Practice Lead

Doug has years of experience working with ultra-high net worth families and the issues that confront them. He designs and leads the implementation of solutions for single-family offices. From the foundation of accounting and reporting processes to the broader needs of organization, staffing and governance, he has experience in formulating workable solutions built around the objectives and values of a family and its vision for multi-generational contributions to society, Doug shepherds clients through a comprehensive process geared toward achieving and sustaining success of the family office.