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YOUR FAMILY OFFICE FUTURE


History and the Family Office A


ccording to Family Office scholar Robert Eigenheer, the Family Office concept in Asia is not widely understood and is underused.


“But,” says Mr Eigenheer, “the number of Family


Offices in Asia has been rising in recent years, and it’s estimated the current number of SFOs in the Asia-Pacific region at slightly more than 100. Their flourishing nature has led to predictions that 250 new FOs will be established in Hong Kong and Singapore alone by 2015.” To explain the Family Office concept, says Mr


Eigenheer, it’s useful to go right back to the beginning. “The earliest forms of Family Offices can be


traced to the 19th Century United States, when business barons created trusts to handle their banking activities and manage their wealth,” says Mr Eigenheer. “But the first real Family Office concept is said to


have started with the offices of Rockefeller and Phipps in the late 19th Century. The concept saw a comeback among wealthy American families in the 1980s.” Early constructs for families tried to imitate Swiss


private banks, aiming to provide a variety of products and services under one roof.


“The first real Family Office concept is said to have started with the offices of Rockefeller and Phipps in the late 19th Century.”


Single-Family Offices (SFOs) became very common


in the United States, and Multi-Family Offices (MFOs) started to flourish in the late 1990s, when a number of SFOs opened their doors to other families. At the same time, according to industry commentator Barbara Hauser, Europe has also seen increasing interest in setting up US-style Family Offices. “We have seen a rising number of Family Office


institutions in Europe, now estimated at 750 SFOs and a total of 3,000 firms dedicated to Family Office services in Europe,” says Mr Eigenheer. This trend, he says, has now continued to Asia, which is still at an early stage of development in terms of wealth management activities. “Overall, information on Family Offices is scarce in


the literature, especially with regard to Asian institutions, because the Family Office concept in that region is still in a process of growth. “But the gradual evolution from the United States via


Europe to Asia has made the Family Office concept a global one. “The most crucial aspects for FOs are financial and


political stability. The quality of personnel and the tax environment are also important considerations in the choice of a jurisdiction.”


FAMILY OFFICE: THE FUTURE


21


YOUR FAMILY OFFICE FUTURE


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