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Family offices find safety in numbers

The implosion of Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management focused attention on family offices, a fast-growing, lightly regulated and ill-defined investor group. Greater oversight is surely inevitable, as is the evolution of the sector away from small, standalone entities into truly global multi-family wealth managers.

Photo: Getty

When UK asset manager Schroders bought specialist London-based family office Sandaire in December 2020 it looked like a straightforward case of adding scale.

Strictly by the numbers, it wasn’t a big deal at all: at the time, Sandaire ran £2.2 billion ($3.04 billion) in assets. Schroders’ wealth business was 16 times bigger, managing assets worth £35.6 billion.

But the UK’s largest standalone asset manager knew what it was doing. In Sandaire, it got one of the best boutique advisers to the super-wealthy around – and the deal took place just as the world’s $5.9 trillion family office (FO) industry was entering a cycle of consolidation that looks set to last for years.


Single family offices (SFOs), keen to cut costs and tap into networks – of people, products, deals and ideas – are joining forces to create multi-family offices, which in turn are merging to form super-sized multi-family offices (MFOs), many of which manage tens of billions of dollars in assets.


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Elliot Wilson headshot.jpg
Global Private Banking and Wealth Management editor
Elliot Wilson is Greater China editor and Private Banking and Wealth Management editor. He joined the magazine in 2020 having been a regular contributor focusing on China and the Indian subcontinent, Russia and Eastern Europe/the CIS. He is based in Hong Kong.