What is a family office?

A family office is a private institution that manages the investments of one or more affluent families. The concept began as an in-house “family office” established and managed for and on behalf of a wealthy family with the assistance of a small support staff and supervised by a member of the founding family. This concept later evolved, becoming an extension service of private banks, law firms and other institutions.

The family’s wealth, at times accumulated over multiple generations, forms the capital of the family office. In addition to strictly wealth and asset-management activities, family offices also administer estates, keep the consolidated accounting, optimize the family’s legal and tax situation, provide certain family governance services, prepare new generations, coordinate the philanthropic policy and plan for succession between generations with regard to shareholders, membership on boards of directors and family councils, directorships in various companies and initiatives with family involvement.

In addition, they traditionally provide personalized services such as managing household staff and making travel arrangements for family members.