Highly successful families manage their wealth by working with combinations of in-house professionals and third-party vendors in a “family office.” A single family office is a private structure created to oversee personal financial matters for family members. We define “family office-scale wealth” as the amount of financial assets required to retain well qualified, full-time, in-house professionals (e.g., accountants, lawyers, investment advisors) regardless of the actual structure used. This is generally estimated to be $100 million in assets. Regardless of whether they have established a formal family office, any family with over $50 million in assets should understand the framework of a family office.

Family offices are major providers of capital, both financial and intellectual, to the global economy. Wealthy families and their family offices have always been sources of innovation as, for example, early adopters of new asset classes and investment techniques, or by creating important social institutions through their philanthropy. The evolution of these family offices is a leading indicator of changes that will affect the broader market. We believe that the trends described in this white paper will have far reaching effects. We focus on family offices because they most dramatically illustrate these changes, and because they have consistently been pioneers of innovation for the broader market. There are three major trends among the most innovative family offices that together will have a strong impact on wealth holders and the providers to these families.

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