The number of family offices has risen by 38% over the past two years worldwide, with the firms overseeing assets valued at $5.9trn, according to advisory group Campden Wealth.
"We estimate that there are now 7,300 single family offices worldwide, with 42% (or 3,100 offices) housed in North America, 32% (or 2,300 offices) in Europe, 18% (or 1,300 offices) in Asia-Pacific and 8% (or 600 offices) in the emerging markets of South America, Africa, and the Middle East," research director Rebecca Gooch said.
The biggest growth came in emerging markets, where the number of family offices rose by half over the period, followed by Asia-Pacific (+44%), North America (+41%) and Europe (+28%).
In Asia, where we have seen a remarkable 44% increase in the number of family offices over this period"
"In Asia, where we have seen a remarkable 44% increase in the number of family offices over this period, there has been a surge of growth in business which is leading to a rise in the ultra-high net worth [UHNW] population," Rebecca Gooch, director of research, said.
"This is coupled by an increase in sophistication of family office hubs, like Hong Kong and Singapore, which are successfully attracting wealth holders. For instance, Singapore has successfully established itself as an increasingly prominent family office base, in-part, by offering families favourable financial incentives, and what is often deemed to be fair tax, legal, regulatory and immigration systems, and a stable government," she added.
The trend has been helped as the ranks of the ultra rich grow even wealthier. The total estimated wealth of the families they work for stood at $9.4trn.
Family offices manage a large portion of families' total wealth, which was often spread across portfolios invested in anything from venture capital deals, to hedge funds, real estate, and commodities.
The most common asset class families invest in was equities, followed by private equity and real estate. Those three asset classes accounted for more than two-thirds (67%) of the average family office portfolio.