Wealth management: Mansour's new style of family office

Elliot Wilson
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Mohamed Mansour’s decision to build his own business to manage his family’s wealth and staff it with seasoned investment bankers was dismissed by some. But six years after its formation, the billionaire’s brainstorm – a hybrid of family office, private equity firm and investment bank – is being praised and even emulated.

When Mohamed Mansour stepped down as Egypt’s minister of transport in 2009, he was at a loose end. The cotton-trading business his father founded in 1952 had long been transformed into one of the world’s great private firms, Mansour Group, with industrial, banking and retail operations stretching from Sweden to Siberia to Singapore. 

It was highly profitable, turning over $6 billion in annual revenues. Money was not an issue for the 67-year-old billionaire or his extended family in London and Cairo – nor was it ever likely to be. What he did need, though, was a fresh challenge. 

So it was that Mansour found himself boarding a flight to New York in early 2010. At first, the trip was merely an extended vacation with a pinch of business thrown in. It was a chance to enjoy the delights of a great city, cast a gimlet eye over...