Sterling provides a host of family office services designed to support any family office. Our family office services are designed with flexibility and versatility in mind while also being cognizant that core goals of any family office are to protect and grow the wealth it manages. Excessive costs can severely impact the growth of the wealth held and managed within a family office. We work with intermediaries in the estate planning, financial planning and investment management fields in particular to collectively provide a comprehensive family office solution for their clients.
What is a family office?
Quite simply a family office is a family controlled investment group designed to manage the wealth of the family. The actual structure of the family office will vary depending on requirements but will generally require some combination of one or more companies, trusts and/or foundations as the basis. Various areas of expertise are typically required to support a family office either on a full time, ad hoc or outsourced basis the core of which would typically include estate planning, tax, law, accounting, investment management, insurance, trusts, foundations and/or corporate secretarial services.
Types of family offices
Within the family office sphere there are dedicated single family offices, multi-family offices and another interesting alternative which is the virtual family office.
Single Family Office - Very large family offices will employ their own personal attorneys, accountants, investment managers, administrative staff, lease office premises, etc. The fees can quickly amount to $1m or more per annum making a dedicated family office out of the reach for all but the ultra wealth. Single family offices still generally require the services of external parties like Sterling to provide services around companies, trusts and/or foundations. Insurance companies which are popular due to various tax mitigating products available (i.e. “insurance wrappers”).
Multi-Family Office – some single family offices have opened up their services to outside parties to offset their own costs potentially even turning their own family office into a profitable venture. A minimum asset level or annual fee level is typically required which may still put this option out of reach or otherwise make it cost prohibitive for many.
Virtual Family Office – a third category of family office is the virtual family office. A virtual family office may be established by utilizing the services of various professional firms to fulfill each of the roles typically provided by dedicated persons within a family office. In this way, a virtual family office can be established and operated at a lower cost than either a dedicated family office or multi-family office allowing this solution to accommodate a broader universe of families. Trusted existing family lawyers, financial advisors, tax advisors, investment managers, accountants and others can be appointed and utilized within the structure where existing relationships exist.
Sterling’s Family Office Services
Sterling provides a host of management and administration services relating to tax exempt offshore companies and low tax onshore companies, trusts, foundations and investment funds utilized within family office structures. We also provide a more comprehensive service to assist with the establishment of a family office whereby we are able to advise and assist from start to finish along with various ongoing supporting services required to successfully run a virtual family office in conjunction with external professional services providers. An example of some of the family office services provided include:
- advising on the available and most suitable structure(s) to meet the requirements of the particular individual or family concerned taking into account location and type of existing assets, effective tax rates of the income and gains within the structures, particular goals/requirements and more (often working with domestic tax advisors and estate planners)
- drafting of all statutory and other documents and establishing the legal structure(s) (i.e. tax exempt companies, investment funds, protected cell companies, trusts and foundations)
- administering/managing these legal structure(s) on an ongoing basis
- accounting services
- legal support (through in house counsel)
- tax planning (working with local tax advisors where required)
Contact us today to learn how Sterling can support your existing family office or setting up a family office.