The modern concept and understanding of family offices was developed in the 19th century starting with the family of J.P. Morgan and the Rockefellers. However, family offices didn’t gain significant popularity until the 1980s. As the ranks of the super-rich have continued to grow to record proportions, particularly since 2005, the number of family offices has swelled accordingly.

Create a Single Family Office to Manage your Family’s Interests

Read the “Creating a Single Family Office to Manage Your Family’s Interests” white paper below to learn about the best practices for starting and managing a single family office:

Single family offices were historically subject to registration as investment advisers under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. They relied on the “less than 15 clients rule” to avoid registration until, through organized effort nationwide among SFOs, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act formally exempted them from registration as investment advisors. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) promulgated the final “family office rules” in 2011.

What is a Single Family Office?

A single family office (“SFO”) provides information, education, networking opportunities, idea sharing, and pooling of buying power, to affluent families and prepares the next generation for their wealth. Importantly. An SFO operates as a private company run by highly talented, trusted professionals who manage investments, trusts, and philanthropic gifts for a single family. The company’s financial capital is the family’s own wealth, and the professionals tasked with managing this capital hold broadly defined roles spanning accounting, legal, operational, and investment management activities. Traditional family offices also provide family management services including management of household staff, travel arrangements, property, day-to-day accounting including payroll activities, and legal affairs.

What is a Multi Family Office?

The development of the multi-family office (“MFO”) in 1980s and 1990s came as a result of the growing number of wealthy families as well as the rapid developments in technology within the financial markets, which required greater sophistication and skill from financial advisors. These changes, combined with the consolidation of the financial services industry, significantly diminished the role of the bank trust departments that traditionally served wealthy families. These trends have resulted in an increased need and cost for family office-type services. To defray costs, many families have opened their family offices to non-family members resulting in multi-family offices. While some ‘closed’ MFOs retain many of the attributes of an SFO, others are ‘open’ to any wealthy investor, and therefore should be considered in the same category as traditional Registered Investment Advisors (“RIA”).

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