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In wealth management and financial advisory services, the term ‘family office has gained significant attention and recognition. However, the concept and valuable role of family offices in managing the financial affairs of high-net-worth families are still not widely known. This blog post aims to answer the question ‘What does a Family Office do?’, focusing on what a family office is, how it operates, and the many functions it performs. 

What is the role of a Family Office? 

A family office is a private organisation that provides comprehensive wealth management and advisory services to affluent families. It serves as the central hub that oversees various aspects of a family’s financial affairs, including investment management, estate planning, tax optimisation, philanthropy, and even personal services like family governance and education.  


Types of Family Offices 

Family offices come in different forms, tailored to meet the specific needs and preferences of each family. The three primary types are: 

  1. Single-Family Offices (SFOs): These offices are dedicated exclusively to one family and focus solely on managing their wealth. SFOs offer highly customised and personalised services, ensuring that the family’s financial goals and values are integrated into every decision. 
  2. Multi-Family Offices (MFOs): MFOs, as the name suggests, serve multiple wealthy families, often pooling resources to achieve economies of scale. MFOs provide shared services while still maintaining a degree of personalisation for each family’s requirements. 
  3. Virtual Family Offices (VFOs): VFOs, also known as outsourced family offices, provide a range of virtual services to families seeking comprehensive wealth management without the need for physical infrastructure. They leverage technology to deliver efficient and cost-effective solutions to their clients. 




Key Functions of a Family Office  

The primary purpose of a family office is wealth management. They develop investment strategies, monitor portfolio performance, and ensure alignment with the family’s financial goals and risk tolerance. Financial planning is also essential, with family offices creating customised plans for retirement, education funding, and intergenerational wealth transfer.  

Estate planning and succession are some other key areas of expertise. Family offices work with legal and tax professionals to establish trusts, minimise estate taxes, and ensure smooth asset transfer to future generations. Tax optimisation is another vital role, as family offices devise strategies to minimise tax liabilities while complying with regulations.  

Philanthropy and impact investing are increasingly important for affluent families, and family offices help define charitable objectives, establish foundations, and identify impactful projects. Risk management and insurance are integral in safeguarding the family’s assets, as family offices assess risks and manage insurance coverage.  

Additionally, family offices support family governance by establishing structures and facilitating communication and decision-making processes. They also provide educational resources to promote financial literacy and responsible wealth management across generations.  


What Does a Family Office Do?  

Family offices act as powerful engines behind the scenes, providing comprehensive wealth management services to high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth families. With their expertise in investment management, estate planning, tax optimisation, philanthropy, and risk management, family offices help preserve and grow wealth across generations while aligning financial goals with family values. As the complexities of wealth management continue to increase, family offices serve as trusted partners, empowering families to navigate the intricate world of finance and secure their financial legacies.  


Want to learn more about creating your family office? Check out our guide on How to Start a Family Office.


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