The number of single family office in North America grew by 41% over the past two years, according to a recent report from Campden Research.
The 3,100 North American offices represent 42% of the estimated 7,300 family offices worldwide, according to the report. Europe has the next largest number, 2,300, followed by Asia/Pacific with 1,300 offices and emerging markets with 600 offices.
Growth in the family office space in North America since 2017 came during the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, according to Campden Wealth’s director of research, Rebecca Gooch.
This has led to an increase in ultra-wealthy individuals, who are increasingly establishing family offices in order to assume greater control over their investments, Gooch said in a Campden newsletter article summarizing the report.
Some wealth holders also favor family offices because they enable them to reduce costs by cutting out middle men/women and provide services in-house, she said.
The report estimated that family offices have a total of $5.9 trillion under management, while the wealth of the families behind them totals some $9.4 trillion.
Asia/Pacific also experienced rapid growth in single family offices since 2017, 44%, according to the report. Gooch said surging business growth has resulted in a big increase in the region’s ultra-high-net-worth population.
This is coupled with growing sophistication of family office hubs, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, which are pulling in wealth holders. Gooch said Singapore’s success owes in part to favorable financial incentives, as well as to a stable government and fair legal, regulatory, tax and immigration systems.
Another factor that has contributed to growth in Asia/Pacific is a generational transfer of control by wealth creators. A byproduct of this transition is a shift in some families from a growth-oriented investment model to a preservation-oriented one.
Family offices, Gooch noted, are ideal vehicles for those intent on preserving wealth for later generations.
Family Office Trends
A third of offices now have multiple branches, and a small proportion have as many as five, according to the report.
One benefit of this trend is that in regions with few offices, new ones do not have to reinvent the wheel; they can find training and education courses in mature family office hubs or hire staff from these hubs.
Emerging markets are embracing family offices, with a 50% increase since 2017 in South America, Africa and the Middle East. Gooch notes, however, that this growth trend comes from a very small base of just 600 offices combined across these regions.
Family offices are evolving from a vehicle to professionalize a family’s wealth management to becoming a headquarters essential to the effective functioning and long-term planning of multigenerational families.
They manage much of families’ total wealth, which can be spread across portfolios invested in a wide variety of asset classes. Equities, private equity and real estate account for two-thirds of the average family office portfolio, according to the report.
The report said the growth trend in family offices would continue into the next decade and beyond, noting that more than two-thirds of family offices were established since the millennium, particularly since 2010.
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