Best Practices

Adopted February 2014 by the FFI Board of Directors

Members of the Family Firm Institute (FFI) are expected to maintain the highest standards of professionalism. Membership in FFI implies a willingness to pursue the standards of professional conduct outlined below.

  • At the outset of an engagement, the family enterprise advisor or consultant should state in writing whose interests he or she is representing during the course of the engagement. Should the need arise to revise the definition of “client” during the engagement, this need should be communicated to and negotiated with all appropriate parties and confirmed in writing.
  • Members, their organizations and professional associates should keep client information and the identity of the client confidential and should not disclose it without the written consent of the client.
  • Members should provide their clients with all information obtained in the course of the engagement that is pertinent to the decisions the client is contemplating.
  • Members should disclose in writing, and at the outset of every engagement, the basis of their fees and expenses and provide an estimate of the total cost of the service whenever possible.
  • Members should avoid real or perceived conflicts of interest whenever possible and should disclose them to all affected parties.
  • When members refer clients to other parties, those members should disclose to their clients the nature of any business relationship between them or their organization and whether there will be any referral fee or other fee sharing.
  • Members should not represent their education, training, experience, professional credentials and competence, or areas of skill and expertise in a deceptive or misleading manner.
  • Members should not misrepresent their affiliation with the Family Firm Institute, nor imply that being a member of FFI or holding a “Certificate in Family Business Advising” implies either credentialing or endorsement by FFI.
  • Members should keep current in their professional practices through self-study and regular attendance at family business-related conferences and courses.
  • Members, in their professional activities, should treat all persons fairly regardless of their race, creed, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, marital status, sexual preference, physical condition and/or appearance.
  • Members should recognize and respect intellectual property rights including providing specific acknowledgment of the original author ship and source when publishing or publicly representing another person’s work.
  • Members should assist other members in their professional development, where possible and appropriate, and support them in complying with these Professional Best Practices.
  • Members should respect the development and growth of the field of family enterprise and should take positive steps to promote the field.
  • Members who do research should carry out the research with respect and concern for the dignity and welfare of the people who participate. It is the members’ responsibility to be adequately informed, and abide by, relevant laws and regulations regarding the conduct of research with human participants. Individuals entering into research should do so voluntarily and with adequate information.

The foregoing are recommendations for FFI members to consider in conducting their practices and are not intended to be relied upon by clients of members, or by any other third parties. Specifically, FFI disclaims any responsibility for monitoring or reviewing the conduct of its members or their adherence to the above recommendations.