A family office takes many forms but is generally a structure or company that looks after a wealthy family's wealth and interests.
Typically, this will involve managing their investments, properties and structures, whilst also offering personal services such as managing household staff and making travel arrangements. On top of that, a traditional family office would also cover day-to-day accounting, payroll, tax services, legal affairs, charitable giving and succession planning.
Family offices work with extremely wealthy families, otherwise known as ultra-high net worth (UHNW), typically, it is said, with a net worth in excess of $100 million. Generally, true family offices are very private organisations.
The purpose of a family office is to manage, preserve and increase the family's wealth for both current and future generations, whilst also providing for the family's day-to-day running costs.
Generally, the following types of family office are referred to:
Single Family Office - this is the name given to a structure that looks after just one family's wealth.
Multi Family Office - this is the name given to an organisation that looks after the wealth of multiple families.
Virtual Family Office - this is the name given to a group of advisors who look after the wealth of a number of similar families on an outsourced basis.