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.
Given the fact that one of the key functions of the family office is to manage investments, it goes without saying that family offices have job requirements on the financial side both for the management and administration of the family’s wealth.
The financial side of the family office is typically split between the functions above and can be made up of a Chief Executive Officer (CEO), a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), a Chief Operations Officer (COO), with the investment aspects being overseen by a Chief Investment Officer (CIO). It goes without saying that within those, or accompanying those, are the need for Accountants, Tax Specialists, Analysts, Portfolio Managers, Investment Managers, Trust Officers, Wealth Planners, etc.
Asides from the financial side, the legal aspect is also worth noting, and a family office could contain an in-house lawyer or General Counsel.
The family office would typically have an administrator or personal assistant, and this could be just for the family office, or may also be at the disposal of the wider family.
Looking after the personal affairs of the family is another non-financial aspect of the potential job functions, and typically this would involve household / domestic staff jobs, such as Housekeepers, Estate Managers, Butlers, Valets, Chauffeurs, Gardeners, Nannies, and more.
This personal aspect could extend to the other assets that a wealthy family might own asides from their properties, such as yachts or private jets for example, and the following specialist jobs could also be seen as part of the family office: yacht crew staff, private jet staff, etc.
It should be noted that some of the functions above, particularly the financial and legal, can be outsourced.