Family Office Defined

What is a Family Office? 

A family office is a privately held company that handles investment management and wealth management for one or a small number of wealthy, ultra-high-net families.  These families generally have over $100 million in investable assets. Family offices exist to help families effectively grow and transfer wealth across generations. 

The Rockefeller family first pioneered family offices in the late 19th century. Family offices started gaining popularity in the 1980s, and since 2005, as the ranks of the super-rich grew to record proportions, family offices swelled proportionately.

Family offices have become more common in recent years after the rapid increase in valuations of technology companies have led to many people having newly created wealth. 

What Does a Family Office Do?

Unlike traditional wealth management shops, family offices offer turn-key financial solutions, often helping families with budgeting, insurance, charitable giving, family businesses, wealth transfers and tax services. 

Family offices benefit wealthy families by:

  • Adopting investment and management strategies to preserve wealth
  • Mitigating risk by diversifying investments
  • Developing strategic asset allocations and estate planning to transfer wealth to future generations

How Do Family Offices Differ?

It’s arguable that no two Family Offices are alike which leads to the saying “When you have seen one family office you have seen one family office”. 

Family offices can differ in terms of their:

  • Source: Family offices may be single or multi family
  • Size: Family offices can manage millions of dollars to billions of dollars. 
  • Strategy: Family offices can have different strategies and interests when it comes to growing wealth.  

Lists like ours allow you to sort family offices by these and other characteristics so that you can easily identify a target group of investors that align with your investment values and strategies. 

Where Do Family Offices Invest?

Every family office has its own goals and strategies, but across the board, family offices are looking for a diverse portfolio of high-reward investments. Family offices are looking to invest in opportunities that deliver above-average returns, which can include: 

  • Private equity
  • Cryptocurrencies
  • Luxury assets
  • Niche asset classes
  • ESG-Focused portfolios 
  • Venture capital opportunities
  • Hedge funds
  • Real estate
  • Startups