The number of family offices in Asia has soared as the age of many family patriarchs or matriarchs get closer to retirement and Singapore is pushing to become a family office hub.
A report by EY and DBS showed that a growing number of Asian family offices have a focus on intergenerational planning.
While the EY and DBS report estimates there are 10,000 single family offices (SFOs) globally, with at least half being set up in the last 15 years, Asia estimates vary. An earlier report counted 500 SFOs in Asia. However, that figure has risen by as much as 15% in the last year.
As the founding patriarch or matriarch hands over the reins to the next generation, more of the future generation are seeking to institutionalise the family office"
"As the founding patriarch or matriarch hands over the reins to the next generation, more of the future generation are seeking to institutionalise the family office", says Desmond Teo, EY Asia-Pacific Financial Services Growth Markets Leader.
The number of family offices in Singapore quadrupled from 2016 to 2018, according to the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). This includes satellite offices by western counterparts, as well as new Asian family offices.
MAS and the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) formed a family office development team earlier this year, in a bid to enhance the country's competitiveness as a family office hub.
MAS is working with the industry and the Institute of Banking and Finance to curate a set of standards for family offices. It is also developing training modules alongside institutes of higher learning. These will equip family office professionals with hard skills in the areas of tax, corporate finance, and investment and legal know-how.
A number of private banks, including DBS have established dedicated family office units to help families deal with these complexities when establishing their own office.
Credit Suisse recently set up a similar division to deal with a rising number of family offices in China.