Opalesque Industry Update - Assets under management for multiple family offices increased 68% between 2007 and 2011 to $777.3 billion, according to recent research released by Boston-based global research firm Cerulli Associates. |
"The term family office is synonymous with wealthy families and the impressive wealth of the ultra-high-net-worth and high-net-worth investors is attractive to asset managers," states Bing Waldert, director at Cerulli.
Cerulli defines a family office as an organization that is established to serve the financial and nonfinancial needs of families with significant wealth by providing integrated wealth management that is completely independent and customized for each client. Many multiple family offices are structured as a registered investment advisor (RIA) and tailor its model to provide personalized wealth management services to its clients based on a well-established portfolio construction process.
The December issue of the U.S. Asset Management Edition of The Cerulli Edge reviews the opportunities and challenges of managing multigenerational wealth.
"High-net-worth investors tend to be incredibly fickle. They are aggressive investors, but seek capital preservation," Waldert explains. "They also maintain multiple advisory relationships."
"The family office and high-net-worth market can be an attractive one for asset managers," Waldert continues. "Working with high-net-worth investors and families carries unique advantages and disadvantages. The familial aspect of these investors creates decentralized and complex decision-making. However, the multigenerational nature of extreme wealth means these same investors have long time horizons and can accept illiquidity."
Cerulli's research shows that understanding the decision-making process of each multiple family office will allow asset managers to better target the offices. Different types of family offices can have a variety of decision-making methods around manager selection. Understanding this process will help to guide what resources asset managers should dedicate to these firms.
Before entering this market, asset managers need to be aware of the unique needs of high-net-worth investors and families, Cerulli warns. The family dynamics present in this market make it significantly different than any other market.
These findings and more are from The Cerulli Edge: U.S. Asset Management Edition, December 2012 issue.
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