Hostages fleeing a bank robbery. (Photo: AP)

ID theft. Trusting the wrong people. Assault. Most Americans at one time or another have worried about these things, and many have experienced them directly.

Threats to security are certainly on the minds of the most affluent segment of population today, and more and more single-family offices are offering services to deal with these problems, according to new research released last week by Rothstein Kass Family Office Group.

In a survey of 151 SFO executive directors during the first half of 2011, 80% said they currently provide security support, up from about 60% who did so in 2009. 

More than 75% said their clients had had direct experience in dealing with a family security issue, and nearly all agreed that a family’s wealth made them a particular target. Almost 90% anticipated that security threats to their clients would continue to intensify.

Survey results appear in “Safe & Sound–How Single-Family Offices Are Addressing Family Security.”

In a statement, Rick Flynn, principal and head of Rothstein Kass’ family office practice, said that SFOs have proliferated across the globe in recent years. “As our research shows, single-family offices today represent more wealth–both on average and in aggregate–than they did only a few years ago. At the same time, most wealthy individuals and families confront an ever-expanding array of threats to their security.”

Asked to rate significant family security concerns, almost 90% of SFO executive directors identified “trusting the wrong people.” They also mentioned these other top concerns:

  • Identity theft (78%)
  • Property being vandalized or stolen (72%)
  • Self or loved ones being assaulted (71%)
  • Self or loved ones getting into “trouble” (66%)
  • Someone gaining access to personal information (64%)
  • Security when traveling (57%)
  • Someone gaining access to business information (52%)