Ultra-net-high-worth families use family offices to manage their affairs. These firms help clients whose wealth and overall management needs have grown beyond what a bank or individual advisor can do.
They “graduate” from the teller to the private banker at the bank, to an investment advisor, then to an asset manager, then to a multi-family office.
The multi-family office will serve more than one family and tends to specialize: some are financial planners, some are investment-focused, some are tax experts.
But there can come a point where the family needs to bring it all in-house and hire people they really trust – advisors who essentially become part of the family.
A single family office serves families with at least $100 million in assets and handles everything from financial planning and investment management to estate planning, lifestyle management, charitable giving and succession planning. The single family office will offer many of the same services as the multi-family office, but its services will be tailor-made for that particular family’s needs, objectives and challenges, which makes it more expensive.
The family office space is still growing in North America. While in Europe there are family offices serving 500-year-old families, in Canada family offices are closer to 75 or 100 years old.