A family office is a private company that manages and supports the organisation and maintenance of a family’s wealth. They offer a wide range of services to families however there are few companies that will provide you with everything you want. It is therefore important to make sure that you find a company who can fully assist you with your needs and expectations. A family office can manage everything from administrative services, investment management, wealth transfer, tax services, family meetings and even social aspects such as holidays and days out.

Now that you know what a family office is you can begin to understand the different types there are. There are two types of family office, the single-family office and the multi-family office.

Single-family office:

A single-family office supports only one family ensuring that all of their time and attention is spent on them. To have a single family office you must set up your own by recruiting your own staff. This makes the operational risk of the family office entirely yours. It also means that you have full control over the family office ensuring that its services are tailored to your family and that they cover all of your needs. The family office (company) gains their financial capital through the families own wealth, giving them the economic resource that they need to buy products and provide their service to the family.

Multi-family office:

A multi-family office is a company who provides family office services for more than one family.  It is common for such companies to manage two families however they have been known to work with over one hundred. When working with a multi-family office there is no need to recruit your own staff as this is all taken care of for you.

The history:

The family office was first introduced during the 19th century by the Rockefellers and began to gain popularity in the 1980’s. By 2005 the rich were becoming super rich and were beginning to need help managing their finances.  As a result family offices became even more popular and were being sought out by the wealthy. Family offices can be established anywhere in the world however they are typically found in Europe (mostly in Switzerland and London) and in the United States of America.

The title:

The title ‘family office’ is not a protected title meaning that anybody can freely state that they provide family office services. This results in a lot of parties such as former bankers and independent asset managers claiming that they offer a range of family office services when in fact they only offer asset management services. As a wealthy family it is paramount to do your research and make sure that you select an appropriate company that offers exactly what you want.

How can a family office support you?

A family office can support you in a number of ways by managing certain aspects of your wealth.  This is usually done in house or through the family office working with external partners.  The number of services provided is entirely up to you giving you complete control over how the family office will serve you.  Whether you are looking for asset management, yacht management, charity management or investment management the family office is there for you.