A family office provides strategic advice, wealth planning services, financial and investment management, tax planning advantages, succession planning, asset allocation, tailored wealth management solutions, and legal and tax structures to multiple families.
While having a family office may seem like an extravagance reserved for the uber-wealthy, it's actually something that can be made accessible to anyone with the right planning and advice, to prepare for multiple generations.
Setting up a family office is not an easy task. There are lots of factors to consider, and it’s not an overnight process. You may be wondering if it’s the right venture for you, but having a family office business has been proven profitable since the 1900s!
Large family office interior.
The rise in the popularity of family offices could be attributed to the increasing number of wealthy people in need of this financial service. The acceleration of the digital revolution that happened in the 1980s created the “new rich” and many wealthy families.
New rich is a term for individuals who made massive fortune within their current generation, without any inheritance. These new breed of wealthy people are not only experts in terms of wealth acquisition and creation.
They are also forward thinkers who want to preserve and pass on their family legacy, family business, and generational wealth to their family members.
Classic new rich personalities are the tech and financial giants - Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, and Elon Musk. The world is gearing towards globalization and artificial intelligence. With huge opportunities available, surely, plenty of people without inheritance, could amass a massive fortune and become ultra-high-net-worth individuals.
But how does this impact family offices? Since growth, preservation, and generational wealth are part of wealthy families' financial plans, they are on the consistent lookout for investment managers and professional staff who can independently manage and delegate responsibilities.
Affluent individuals want to hire personnel that embodies their investment philosophy. Key priorities include strategic planning, investment strategy, data security, digital capabilities, and additional services that meet their long-term objectives.
Thus, there is an increase in demand for most family offices. If you want to invest in this venture, you came to the right place. Although starting a family office might be daunting, understanding the process down to its core simplifies everything.
The good news is, we are here! We will help you understand this concept for your decision-making process. Learn from our tips and make the most of the benefits of setting up a family office.
We’ve talked about the popularity of the family office, and how it becomes a trend among rich and affluent families; but, we still want to emphasize the benefits you could enjoy in a family office environment.
If you are still wondering if this opportunity is perfect for you, then here are the awesome benefits of setting up a family office:
According to Bloomberg, in the next five years, the number of millionaires will go by 40%, and by 2026, at least 87 million people will have at least $1 million in wealth. Data shows an increase in the number of families' wealth, so the demand for family office services, whether a single-family office or multi-family office, will continue to rise.
The clientele base of many family offices is no ordinary people. They are the pool of rich and ultra-high-net-worth families, who make billions and trillions of money! Probably they own 90% of the world’s wealth, combined!
Paying a generous fee to their family office is not an issue. Isn’t that a good problem?
Setting up a family office is not child’s play. While the benefits are exemplary, there is always the other side of the coin. This is not to discourage potential investors; but to prepare them ahead, so they can take calculated risks and make a smart moves with their ventures. Here are the downsides of multi-family offices :
Let’s face it. The operational cost to set up single-family offices is not cheap. When you work for an elite group of clients, you dive into the world of prestige and luxury; and of course, you need to match their vibe through top-notch and extravagant service.
If you don’t have that huge stash of dollars for your capital, setting up a virtual family office could be the affordable solution. This type of family office leverage technology, and indeed a cheaper alternative compared to the family office structure and multi-family office set-up.
Starting a family office requires a huge capital! The 100-dollar bills in the picture probably wouldn't suffice!
Running a family office is not a one-man job. Although the single-structured family office serves one wealthy family, the services it offers are comprehensive and multidisciplinary.
When you are a start-up, the primary challenge, aside from the capital, of course, is to find key people who would work with you. To add fuel to the fire, you’ll be handling elite clients, and as much as you want your staff to have as much passion and work ethic as you, you can only do as much.
We’re not saying that it’s impossible for you to have a great team for your family office. With great leadership, vision, and communication, it could be achieved. Just endure the hardship of scouting the perfect talent at first, you’ll reap the rewards after.
Assessing the pros and cons of creating a family office is the first step. The next important aspect is to scrutinize the essential factors to be prioritized in building your enterprise. In that way, you’re managing risks well while capturing the big picture of your endeavor.
Here are the most common factors to consider in setting up a family office :
The first factor to be considered in creating a family office is asset level. Asset level refers to the number of resources the family has. It could range from cash, investments, real estate properties, and other valuable resources.
Which group of the family are you serving? Is it high net worth or ultra-high? The greater the asset size, the greater the fees and costs of operating a family office. Determining your numbers will give you good judgment. Are your operational costs cost-effective or high?
The second factor to consider in setting up a family office is the kind of services to be provided. When you are a start-up family office, can your team deliver all the comprehensive services of a typical family office? Perhaps you need to offer wealth management and estate planning first and expand to philanthropy as you go along.
Knowing your position and capacity matters. Taking baby steps while scaling up is a smart move. It’s better to build a good reputation slowly than be aggressive and fall apart.
Chances are, you’re going to hire experts under your team. How much is your budget allocation for the accounting services? How much for legal and estate planning? What about the curator or philanthropy?
Allocating a specific budget gives you control over your operational expenses. Also, as a start-up, doing your research on how much a rich client pays for a particular service is an efficient move in setting your budget per service.
The last factor in creating a family office is client services. This provides a vital link between you, the family office service provider, and your wealthy client.
Excellent service is the key to a great client relationship.
To what extent are you going to render your service? Will your family office take complete control of the wealth advisory? A good relationship is the foundation of any business, and you want a reputation for having exemplary, sophisticated, and world-class client service.
Thinking about the whole process that one must go through in establishing a family office could be really daunting! There are lots of technicalities and jargon that we need to understand. It may be tedious and requires lots of patience, but a deep understanding of the process will take you a long way.
Here are the most practical and useful steps on how to set up a family office :
All business plans have feasibility studies. The same goes for starting a family office. This may seem intricate, but all factors are critical to ensure business success. A feasibility study determines all the financial, logistical, and even potential market challenges and threats that may arise along the way.
Once you successfully evaluated a great or profitable return on investment, then you can confidently proceed to the next step.
What are your company objectives? What are the typical goals of a wealthy family? What’s your organizational structure? What are your business processes? Determining the answers to these is crucial for laying your foundation on solid ground. You don’t want to go and offer your services without your structures and processes in place.
You already handled all the technicalities, it’s the best time to start a family office! After all your planning and preparations, execution is your determining factor. Implementation takes you one step closer to establishing your reputable family office brand!
Consistent performance monitoring will put you on top of your game.
Lastly, know your performance and the potential area for improvement. Take note of all your important KPIs, and implement necessary changes. Have a system for monitoring and review, so you have data on your family office, and analysis would be easy.
1. How Can I Raise Capital For My Family Office?
Prior to setting up your own family office, building a great reputation and relationships with investors is a game changer. You can easily secure your capital once you have trusted investors to back up your new venture.
Another helpful tip is to scout trusted advisors. Creating your team of experts would give you an advantage when you launch your family office business. Not only you would gain the confidence and trust of your clients, but you would also build the credibility of your business, which is highly beneficial in the long run.
2. When Should I Have A Family Office?
The best time to have your own family office is when you are financially prepared. If the value of your total net worth reached $100 million, conventional practices suggest that you should already consider having one. Overall, it still depends on your financial capacity and risk appetite.
3. Are Family Offices Regulated?
They’re not as tightly regulated as banks or other financial institutions, but they still have to play by a few rules. If you want to start a family office, make sure you familiarize yourself with the relevant regulations and always stay compliant. It may seem like extra work now, but it will save you headaches down the road.
4. How Many Clients Can A Family Office Have?
A single structured family office serves a single rich and ultra-high-net-worth family, while the multi-structured family office could serve from 2 to 500+ ultra-high-net-worth families.
So there you have it – your comprehensive guide to setting up a family office. The task may seem overwhelming at first glance; however, once you break down all steps into the smallest pieces they become doable and much easier to tackle head-on.
Setting up a family office can be tedious and difficult, but the benefits are worth it. The rich and ultra-high-net-worth families have been practicing this wealth management system since the 1900s, resulting in massive fortune acquisition and lasting legacy.
The digital revolution created new breeds of wealthy individuals. These new rich breeds wanted wealth growth and preservation, and creating a family office is part of their wealth strategy. Analyzing the basic law of demand and supply: there is a market and a huge pool of clients in need of a family office service!
With the knowledge you just acquired, starting your own family office is possible. Just make sure to choose the right professionals to help guide you through the process and get started on creating your own. Good luck!