- Denny Chared got into the events industry in 2000 after failing to get a Wall Street job.
- Now the ex-journalist runs global conferences attended by 2,000 of the world’s richest families.
- The Israeli told Insider how he broke into the exclusive circle.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Denny Chared says he’s the “Soup Nazi” of exclusive conferences for the ultrarich families.
The “Soup Nazi,” for those who aren’t fans of the ’90s TV show “Seinfeld,” refers to the cantankerous chef who famously shouted “No soup for you!” to customers who displeased him.
“We have a growing network of haters,” said the 46-year-old Israeli founder of DC Finance, which runs some of the most exclusive events for the world’s wealthiest families, reaching 2,000 families with more than $500 billion in assets, per Chared.
This high-net-worth group is highly coveted by investment professionals, but only 10% of tickets at each event are available for purchase to service providers such as wealth managers. Family members, even billionaires, pay nothing to attend while outsiders have to fork over $2,000 to $3,500. This policy rankles many would-be attendees, Chared said, but it’s all about putting the families first.
These conferences tackle a variety of topics, including technology investing and marrying into wealth. Sponsors including the Big Law firms Reed Smith and Clifford Chance pay $10,000 to $30,000 to present at a conference, host a private dinner, or hold an online session.
The family-office world, estimated to be worth $6 trillion by Campden Research, is insular. Over the past two decades, Chared got the attention of the world’s wealthiest by being persistent.
He brags about how he got the real-estate billionaire and Jewish philanthropist Sam Zell to speak at an Israel conference after bluntly refusing to accept his assistant’s excuse for his not attending.
Chared then got close to the world’s wealthiest by being sympathetic to their needs but not treating them with kid gloves.
When he did a conference interview with Anthony Di Ioro, the millionaire founder of the cryptocurrency network Ethereum, one of his first questions was whether he lost friends when he became wealthy.
“I think people like that — we don’t say, ‘Oh thank you, your majesty, for allowing us to have you here.’ They feel more relaxed,” he said.
After a rough start on Wall Street, Chared made inroads with Israel’s wealthiest families
The son of a homemaker and a notable Israeli guitarist, Chared was raised in Tel Aviv. He covered Wall Street as a reporter for several outlets including Globes, Israel’s main business magazine.
In 2000, he tried to get a trading job on Wall Street, but he was shut out amid the dot-com bubble burst and returned to Tel Aviv. A friend introduced him to a management group that ran executive conferences in Israel. He broke into the events business by helping business associations and investment institutions get conference sponsors.
In 2003, he struck out on his own and started DC Finance, referring to his initials. The name is the worst mistake he’s ever made, Chared said.
Many people think it is a wealth-management firm in Washington, DC, but the name stuck.
While running conferences, he learned about the family-office industry. True to his journalistic roots, he researched rich families in Israel, settling on the Strausses, known for their eponymous food manufacturer, and the Eliahu family, which founded Israel’s first insurance company, and then reached out to younger heirs. They opened up to him, and Chared learned what rich families care about and the pitfalls of most events for the ultrawealthy.
“Before us, in Israel, if you wanted to go to a conference and meet other families, you could go to a Credit Suisse event or whatever. It’s all nice and you’ve got great food and a great resort, but you’re going to hear what they want you to hear,” he said. “They don’t want you to know that there’s a multifamily-office option that is nonbiased, that will not sell you their own ETFs.”
Chared started a steering committee with a variety of professionals, including investment bankers, family-office executives, and even psychologists to design panels addressing every need of the wealthy from estate planning to mental health. He held his first family-office event in 2011 in Israel.
The next challenges for DC Finance: expanding to the UAE and reintroducing in-person events
Later in 2011, his work drew the attention of Wendy Craft, then a family-office executive for the Schneider real-estate family. Chared met with Craft to discuss the Schneiders speaking at an Israel event, and Craft said Chared should do a conference in the US. She introduced him to wealthy American families, and in 2014, DC Finance held its first family-office conference in New York. Events in the UK, Miami, Dallas, and Canada followed soon after.
For many of the families that attend, these events are one of the few times they see one another.
Chared said that deals among families have come from conferences after bonding through one another’s stories, not pitches. For instance, one family that made its fortune in agriculture – whom he declined to name, citing guests’ desire for privacy – decided to invest in a small agrotech fund after meeting its founder at a conference and learning his father founded one of Israel’s largest agriculture companies.
“He’s been breathing agro from when he was young. He’s wealthy so he is not eager for money to do stupid things. A family will not ruin their name for a quick buck,” Chared said of the family’s reasoning to invest. “Families want to see who you are. They take more things into consideration when they invest.”
Before the pandemic, Chared held 13 in-person conferences in North America with several others in London and Tel Aviv. DC Finance has slowly been reintroducing them, with a recent conference in the United Arab Emirates, which is a new market for the firm.
During the pandemic, Chared took advantage of virtual events by interviewing wealthy individuals from all across the globe, such as Salvador Paiz Del Carmen of the Guatemalan Paiz family that made its fortune from supermarkets, and the Israeli entrepreneur Dov Moran, who invented the USB memory stick.
He is working from his home in Rye, New York, but in May, he will be holding his first in-person event in Manhattan since the pandemic began. It is an unusual conference for DC Finance due to the accommodations made for COVID-19 safety. It will be held outdoors at the World Trade Center. Everything has been scaled down from the head count to the panels; it will be only four hours rather than a full day. But for the families, the point is meeting one another, not the frills.
“You’re dealing with people where nothing knocks their socks off,” he said. “They can go to an event for Porsche or a service provider where they have first-tier staff and fine dining. They get enough of that. That’s not why they come to us.”
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