Many successful entrepreneurs and families choose to set up family offices as a convenient and efficient way to coordinate the management of their wealth. Known as Single Family Offices or SFOs, these private companies are designed to serve one family or related family group. Single Family Offices should not be confused with Multi Family Offices, which are businesses that provide family office-like services to a number of clients.

By and large, the activities of a family office can be divided into two main groups, services-related and capital-related (investments). This paper is focused on capital-related functions of a family office. The purpose of this guide is to classify and describe the investment models employed by Single Family Offices to help people better understand their options and the impact of their decisions.

One of the great advantages of a family office is the ability to create a customized investment solution for current and future generations. It is therefore essential that family members clearly identify their objectives and understand the true operating expenses and opportunity costs of their chosen family office investment model.

Each family needs to evaluate family office investment models based upon other criteria, such as the impact on their time and personal privacy, the potential for regulatory oversight and government reporting, the degree of control they desire over the process, and whether they want to use the family office as a means to develop the investment knowledge and skills of individual family members. In order to ensure a well-run investment operation, a strategic plan, operating budget, investment committee, formal governance structure, and annual audits are highly recommended.

These guides are intended for educational purposes only and should not be construed as providing advice for investment, tax, legal, or other decisions.