What is a Family Office?

September 18, 2016

A set of clues suggests that their number has been growing recently: articles and books dedicated to them are published almost every week, associations representing them and specialized events are popping up all around the world. However, family offices remain hard to delineate. For a good reason: these private firms are shaped to meet the specific needs of the family they serve. So it’s useless to look for a standard!

However, according to our Head of Family Offices & Institutional Coverage, Emile Salawi, they share a common purpose: to smoothly transfer the family’s wealth to the next generation. That’s why most of their resources are dedicated to strategic investment and asset management activities with a view to preserving capital.

A study by Campden research reveals that, in 2015, the average family office had 806 million USD in assets under management. Alternative investments, such as private equity and real estate, represent the main share – 49% – in this average portfolio.

Family offices can also manage legal matters, philanthropy, estate planning, household staff and more. Family Offices are always on the lookout for new investment ideas and themes, are often very keen to exchange views with peers and sometimes even invest together.