Family Office

Today, private family capital is larger than private equity and venture capital combined. The increasing concentration of wealth held by very wealthy families and rising globalization are fueling the growth of family offices.

What EY can do for you

There are thousands of single family offices around the world – most of which were set up in the last 15 years – and their number grows faster every year.

Family offices are complex organizations that require deep knowledge and expertise – not just of investment variables, but also a host of other factors.

Family office organizational structure

Founder’s office

Often consists of an assistant or a few staff members who manage bills, travel plans and basic financial needs of the founder.

Embedded family office 

Usually handles the shareholders’ personal financial affairs as well as corporate duties.

Compliance or tax office 

Oversees investments and takes care of record-keeping, insurance and tax returns.

Investment management office 

Manages private equity investments, hedge funds and similar activities, and may seek to manage money of other families as a service.

Full-service office or private trust company 

Manages all aspects of service, including taxes, investments, family education, governance and accounting, usually across multiple generations.

Why successful business families set up family offices

As concerns about wealth preservation and succession planning within family businesses continue to rise, families are increasingly evaluating the benefits of setting up a family office. While each is unique, in general, a family office is a family-owned organization that manages private wealth and other family affairs. A family office supports the family vision and legacy, ownership transitions, leadership transitions and successful wealth transitions.

  • Benefits of running a family office

    Privacy and confidentiality 

    Family office is the sole entity that keeps all the information for all family members, covering the entire portfolio of assets, activities, tax and general personal information. 

    Governance and management structure 

    Family office enables transparent handling of family affairs, ownership and investments. 

    Alignment of interests 

    Family office aligns interests between the business, advisors and the family. 

    Potential higher returns 

    Family office enables centralized and professional asset management. This can result in higher returns or reduced risk from investment activities. 

    Separation of family enterprise and family assets

    Family office enables clear distinction between the underlying business and the family’s assets or other holdings. 

    Risk management 

    Family office enables decisions that are better aligned with the family’s objectives and values.

    Centralization of services 

    Family office allows coordinated professional services to the family and its members.

    Focal point for the family 

    Family office helps align the family members around areas of common interest, such as philanthropic activities or jointly held assets of the family.

  • Concerns of running a family office

    Lack of market, legal and tax infrastructure 

    Family offices perform best in investment/talent hubs with sophisticated legal, regulatory and tax structures.  

    Preference for privacy 

    Some families are hesitant to consolidate their wealth information through a centralized structure. 

    Confidence in outsiders 

    Success of a family office is contingent on the level of trust and comfort families have with external executives and asset managers. 

    Expectations for returns 

    Securing stabile returns from volatile markets can be difficult and cause tensions. 

    Different generations’ goals and objectives

    Next generation of owners often has different goals and objectives in managing the family’s wealth.

EY Family Office Guide

EY Family Office Guide is a detailed handbook that provides useful insight to family enterprise leaders who are considering setting up a family office. 

The Guide is designed to be equally helpful to business families that wish to separate their family wealth and assets from the operating business, and successful entrepreneurs looking to structure and preserve their wealth following a major liquidity event. It offers technical information as well as insight into leading practices that successful family offices undertake for a long-term success.

  • Topics covered

    • Why set up a family office?
    • What should a family office do?
    • Business plan, staffing and strategy
    • Investment process
    • Communication and technology
    • Philanthropy
    • Governance 
    • Risk management
Family office guide

EY Family Office Guide

Family offices are complex organizations that require deep knowledge. This guide provides leading practices for setting up and running successful family offices.

Request a copy

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