The establishment of a family office is a major undertaking and there have been cases when family offices have not met the family’s expectations. Some potential concerns about setting up a family office are:Cost – The cost of regulatory and compliance reporting remains high, which means that the level of assets under management by a family office needs to be high enough to offset its fixed costs.
Market, legal and tax infrastructure – Family offices function better when operating from centers where there are sophisticated markets and legal and tax structures. The absence of these in emerging markets may undermine the development of family offices.
Multi-Family Offices – Some families prefer to set up multi-family offices (MFOs) in which several families pool their wealth. These MFOs are typically directed by the lead family that initiated the office. In MFOs, all assets are managed under one umbrella. However, MFOs typically cater to a range of family sizes, wealth and maturity levels. This means that families can run the risk of not receiving the same level of personalized advice as in a dedicated single-family office set up.