By David Fisher, Executive Managing Director at Cresset
Family offices have long been considered a luxury only the very wealthiest of families can enjoy – typically families with at least several hundred million dollars in net worth. Of course, having a dedicated team of investment professionals acting on your family’s behalf – and only your family’s behalf – can certainly seem enticing. However, for high-net-worth families who don’t meet the net-worth threshold to justify a single-family office, there is an option that provides many of the same holistic, deeply personalized services of a single-family office (and often more) at a fraction of the cost: a multi-family office.
What is a multi-family office?
A: As the name suggests, a multi-family office works with multiple high-net-worth families, managing their entire wealth picture through tax and estate planning, risk management, investment management, trusteeship, lifestyle and concierge services, coordination of other financial professionals, and philanthropic strategy.
What are the advantages of a multi-family office over a typical wealth manager?
A: A multi-family office offers a team of specialists to work with your family, as opposed to a typical wealth manager, who is often a lone generalist. Also, multi-family offices can provide visibility into best practices that similar families are using to manage their wealth. Finally, multi-family offices exist to help families aggregate their investments, particularly private investments, which allows greater leverage and buying power, as well as access to leading managers and investment opportunities.
What are the range of services provided by a multi-family office?
A: Besides offering investment advice, a multi-family office typically offers a multitude of other services, including wealth planning, estate and tax planning, charitable giving advice, concierge services, family vision and values exploration, and more. These services are often provided with multi-generational families in mind.
What is the difference between a single and multi-family office?
A: Because multi-family offices work with several families who pool resources, they can offer those client families economies of scale that allow for cost-sharing. That lowers the fees and expenses for the client families, while simultaneously broadening the depth of resources available to those families.
At what point does a multi-family office make sense?
A: As families become more successful and growth their wealth, particularly over generations, their financial pictures become more complex. This is when a multi-family office can make a lot of sense. Clients of a multi-family office typically have a net worth in excess of $25 million.
How do I get started with a multi-family office?
A: Research a multi-family office that shares the vision and values of your family. A multi-family office should be a fiduciary that is committed to transparency and acts on your family’s best interests at all times, with no conflicts of interest. Ensure that the multi-family office you select can provide the full range of services you desire and has the depth of talent and experience to deliver on your family’s wishes long-term.
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