Peter von Simson
Chief Executive Officer
New Bedford Management
Information outage. When I find boards that are having a hard time running their building like a business, the problem is usually that they’re getting information that’s not organized or disseminated properly. That can create a backlog of questions from the board, because most are afraid of making a mistake. So our job as a management company is first to make sure boards have a clear understanding of what the issues are, and then make sure that the information on how to resolve that issue is presented clearly and on time.
The magical management agreement. It’s really important to understand what everyone’s role is and to agree on that going in. Oftentimes a management agreement puts restrictions on the amount of money a managing agent can spend without the board’s approval. That restriction alone means the manager will have to speak to the board a lot, because the board needs a lot of information to make decisions. Most boards that I’ve spoken with — and certainly the board I sit on — would rather have more information than less.
Different strokes. Not every board functions the same way. Some have very strict procedures as to whom we should take direction from, and some have procedures that are much more general. Both work, but obviously it’s important that there’s an understanding regarding how your management company is going to be relaying information to you — and not just for big decisions but for smaller proposals that come along. If executed properly, those guidelines can make the board-managing agent relationship so much smoother and cost-effective. Time restraints are much easier to handle, and I think the results are so much better.