As the interest in both single and multi-family offices increases, do not worry what the system tells you: define the mission from the family perspective, and then you will decide how to execute that mission.
Let us visit the definitions of Single Family Office (SFO) and Multi-Family Office (MFO). What is your definition as the right one? If you do not have a definition, let me share with you the meaning that The Private Wealth & Family Office has defined:
A (Single) family office is a privately controlled (group of) staff employed within or outside a dedicated structure that assists a family with the organisation, management, and maintenance of all or parts of their assets, needs, and wishes with a core focus on wealth creation, protection, growth and succession planning. The “family” defines the mission of the "office" which is to ensure the family’s prosperity by collectively directing the affairs of the family while meeting the appropriate interests of each family member and respecting the interest of all stakeholders. In the definition, "structure" is mentioned. That structure can be a corporation, a partnership, or purely “an understanding” among the family.
What we at PWFO advice is to have what we call a “piece of paper” which is the contract all the members of the family enter into. It is preferable as it helps resolve disputes. An SFO will only look after the prosperity of one family. Should that family decide to outsource the operations completely to an existing group of experts in the field, then it may appoint a Multi-Family Office (MFO) that best meets the family’s mission.
A Multi-Family Office is a non-family controlled and commercially operated organisation that employs staff to support several families with the organisation, management, and maintenance of parts of their needs, and wishes.
Jan van Bueren Senior Wealth Planner at Union Bancaire Privée (UBP SA) and co-founder FOSS Family Office Services
Ayoob Rawat; Founder PWFO and contact member for ICAEW in Switzerland
Are available to advise you further.
You too can become a family office expert