It is often assumed that the acclaimed American family, the Rockefellers, pioneered the family office in the late 19th century.
The reality is that Family Office has existed from the dawn of civilisations except that the term “family office” was only coined in 1900 as Banks used the term mainly to segment Assets Under Management size.
Family Offices are becoming a very significant force within the global business landscape, now managing almost half of the $9 trillion controlled by the world’s billionaires.
EY estimates that there are currently 10,000 family offices, a ten-fold increase since 2008. It is expected that this trend will continue in line with the growing number of billionaires and the increasing need for specialized expertise to manage and advise family enterprises on new investment options, succession, and multi-generational wealth preservation within a volatile global economy.
Family offices can also enjoy a greater level of autonomy and independence when it comes to investment decisions, like in America where firms managing money only for families or associates are exempt from disclosure and other rules governing investment advisers.
Family offices are very diverse, ranging from a single in-house holding company to large specialized external advisory firms managing multiple family offices, but collectively family offices need to be treated as a sector in itself, and a powerfully influential one at that.
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Published in THARAWAT Magazine by Jan van Bueren, LLM,
TEP, Co-Founder FOSS Family Office
Advisory & Global Head Family Office Advisory at Union Bancaire Privée.
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