Defining ‘Family Office’

Our membership consists of executives who work for Single Family Offices (SFOs) or private Multi Family Offices (PMFOs).

Family offices divide into SFOs, PMFOs and Asset Gathering MFOs. What they have in common is that they manage the investments of family wealth rather than institutional assets. To remove any uncertainty over the meaning of these terms we have set out below what we mean by SFO, PMFO and Asset Gathering MFO.

A Single Family Office (SFO)

An SFO is a private organisation that manages the investments for a single wealthy family.

The assets are the family’s own wealth, often accumulated over many family generations. In addition to investment management some Family Offices provide personal services such as managing household staff and making travel arrangements.

Other services typically handled by the traditional Family Office include property management, day-to-day accounting and payroll activities, and management of legal affairs. Family Offices often provide family management services, which includes family governance, financial and investment education, philanthropy coordination, and succession planning.

The Private Multi-Family Office (PMFO)

A PMFO is an enterprise dedicated to meeting the comprehensive needs of a small number of families and/or their trusts or branches of the same family.

At their core MFOs provide investment management services and can also provide a range of other services including:

  • Investment strategy and performance reporting
  • Wealth structuring – Tax, estate and succession planning
  • Managing holding structures (e.g. trusts, foundations, companies)
  • Philanthropic planning
  • Global asset allocation
  • Family business advisory
  • Family governance
  • Concierge services

The Asset Gathering Multi-Family Office

The distinction between MFOs can be further categorised by whether they are closed or private; that is they are not seeking additional clients; or open, when they are actively seeking additional UHNW clients.  In practice, other than a family heritage, there can sometimes be little to distinguish some open MFOs from traditional private client asset managers.

Our members are mostly drawn from SFOs and PMFOs.