What is a family office?

A family office is, in its simplest form, the private office for a family of significant wealth. The purpose of an office can range from handling key family assets and core holdings (tax and accountancy, property and estate management) to include more sophisticated wealth management structures, while often providing family members with educational, professional and lifestyle services.

Generally, family offices manage key areas of family assets, including real estate holdings and direct or indirect investments, tax consolidation and estate management, serving as the central hub for a family’s legacy, governance and succession communication.

Who would benefit from using a family office?

Families with private wealth in excess of USD 150 million are ideal candidates for establishing a single family office structure.

While it is not uncommon for first-generation entrepreneurs to establish a family office, family offices often support families with more complexity in terms of number of households and generations. This is a key characteristic of family office structures and one that offices must account for when designing and executing investment strategies and family governance plans.

A typical family office…

  • Affords structure to the management of family wealth, establishing increased control and oversight of the family wealth strategy and costs of managing investments
  • Consolidates tax, accountancy and wealth management reporting execution under one roof
  • Provides a clearly-articulated, efficient governance framework for investment decision making, as well as family legacy and succession functions (including philanthropic foundations and initiatives)
  • Coordinates with service providers, achieving economies of scale (especially in the case of multi family offices) and preferential deal access and products
  • Ensures confidentiality and privacy for family members, liberating them from the burden of wealth.