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EY Americas Family Office guide

How can you build a future that will last for generations? Create a family office to nurture the family legacy.

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Our Americas Family Office guide is a detailed handbook for those planning to set up a family office and also for those looking to set benchmarks of leading practice within their existing family office.

Today, private family capital is larger than private equity and venture capital combined. The increasing concentration of wealth held by very wealthy families and rising globalization are fueling the growth of family offices. There are at least 10,000 single family offices around the world — most of which were set up in the last 15 years.

Family offices are complex organizations that require deep knowledge — not just of investment variables, but also a host of other factors. This guide is a detailed handbook for those planning to set up a family office and also for those looking to set benchmarks of leading practice within their existing family office.

This guide covers:

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Leader and advisor in supporting family enterprises to achieve their ambition and secure their family legacy for generations. Regular instructor and speaker on topics relevant to family enterprises.

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Is Your Family Office Built for the Future?

  • Rob Lachenauer

single family office business plan

Five critical decisions to set it up for long-term success.

Family offices can provide a number of benefits, including privacy, customization, and having your own team to handle a wide range of services, such as guiding family philanthropy, managing shared properties, or even managing household help. Successful principals in hedge funds, private equity, real estate, and tech entrepreneurs, and even family businesses owners selling their firms, have recently created an explosion in the number of family offices. While most single-family offices are set up with good intentions of continuing to keep the family (and its wealth) close, they face some unique built-in tensions that family businesses don’t have that leave them vulnerable in the long-term. This article addresses five key decisions that family offices need to make if they want to set themselves up for long-term success.

Two years after their father died, Paul and Hank knew the time had come when they should break-up their family office. At their father’s insistence, the family’s substantial financial assets had been invested together. As their father’s business was the source of the family wealth, the brothers felt an obligation to build a single-family office together. But investing decisions soon became a source of conflict. Decision-making authority was murky; each brother lacked transparency into what the other brother was investing in and why. How aggressive to be on tax strategies became a matter of great disharmony.

  • JB Josh Baron is a co-founder and partner of BanyanGlobal Family Business Advisors and a Visiting Lecturer in Executive Education at Harvard Business School. He is a co-author of The Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook (Harvard Business Review Press, 2021).
  • Rob Lachenauer is a founding partner of BanyanGlobal Family Business Advisors and co-author of The Harvard Business Review Family Business Handbook (Harvard Business Review Press, 2021).

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How To Set Up A Family Office

single family office business plan

It’s hard to find professional advice on this complicated subject in most places, and it can be even harder to find holistic help in places that have been around for a while.

Every family office is different

Families who want to start a family office should know that a single-family office is a business in its own right and needs to be set up and run as such. Family offices that aren’t set up correctly from the start often stop working properly over time.

single family office business plan

It is important for all families to talk about and agree on the same strategic steps in order to get the best possible result. In reality, things go wrong because there isn’t such an organized process and way of doing things. 

There you have it. The process is pretty much the same for every family, but the result is different. Putting together a new private family business is a lot like this process.

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12 necessary steps for setting up a single-family office 

Setting up a single-family office is a big job that needs careful planning and cooperation between family members. Making a single-family office charter, also called a family office constitution, is an important step in this process. It sets the goals for the office and is what it stands for. There are many important things to think about when setting up and running a single-family office.

01 The goal of the family office

Writing a single-family office charter, also called a family office constitution, is the best way to start setting up a single-family office. All family members who are participating decide and agree on the goals of the family office through this document.

A single-family office plan can be a part of how the family is run as a whole.

02 Family involvement 

Making sure that family members are involved in things like the single-family office leadership system is very important and should be done as soon as possible. In what way will a family member be active in running the family office?

03 The assets managed by the family office

What types of family assets does the family office handle, and what types does it not? Which family assets, like the family business, still need to be handled by the family?

04 The services the family office provides

The family office will offer different services to each family. It’s true that handling investments is a main service for most single-family offices, but not all of them.

05 Structure for running a family office

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the family office is the leader of the single-family office. It can be very hard to find a CEO for a single-family office.    

06 Making a business plan for the family office   

A business plan for a single-family office should be written. A family office business plan is needed to give the process of setting up a family office some organization.

07 Budget and costs of the single-family office

Pro forma planning is the first step in setting up a single-family office. As time goes on, the family office needs to move from a rough budget to an official budget for each year.

08 The family office jurisdiction

It is recommended to do some research to find the best place to set up and run the family office. The site should work for the family members who use the family office, but that’s not the only thing that needs to be thought about.

09 The family office structure

A single-family office’s location and legal structure are intertwined. The family office’s formal structure in the law ought to be adequate there. The family office’s funding model is a significant consideration.

10 Recruitment of family office staff

Sometimes it’s hard to find and keep people for a family office. People who work in the family office usually cost the most. Every single-family office needs to figure out how many employees they need and what their job is in relation to the services the office wants to offer.

11 Infrastructure for operations

Even though it’s not the most exciting subject, the family office will need to set up office space and all the things that go with it, like computers. It’s also important to think about how the family office will actually work.

12 IT, software for the home office, and online safety

These days, you shouldn’t forget about the tech side of a family office. It is impossible to run a family office without the right IT tools. Buying or hiring software should be done.

Control and Risk management

Controlling things and managing risks are two very important parts of running a family office. Because they are so important, we don’t think of them as different steps. Instead, they are built into (almost) all of our modules when you work with us. You can find more information about how we can help you at the bottom of this page.

Beginning the process

It’s hard to even think about starting to plan a family office. The best way to describe the steps a family needs to take is by playing chess on several boards at the same time.

Most of the steps need to be planned ahead of time or done at the same time, except for setting up the family office goal. This is because setting up a good family office governance framework from the start can avoid big problems down the road. 

Just like a family business changes over time, a family office should also go through different steps over time. You should know and accept that it’s almost impossible to quickly set up a single-family office that is fully stocked and ready to go. You should instead start with a strong base and keep adding to and improving it over time.

A method for professionals

Families don’t usually set clear goals for the family office or make an initial business plan, basic budget, and first set of rules. Instead, they tend to do all of these things on the spot. Or they keep thinking about it again and talking about it with their family without making a decision. One reason for this is that families act differently when they talk about their own money than when they talk about their business.

This kind of behavior is very dangerous if it goes down the road and the family business gets even more complicated as more generations join. A family office that doesn’t have any rules for how it works will not work well.

Setting up a family office is not a “nice to have” or “well, let’s give it a try” activity. A single-family office is its own professional business that needs to be set up and run in a very professional way. 

If you don’t, it really will fail. Setting one up is a pretty complicated task. During the process, it’s best to get help from a single-family office project manager.

Getting family office help

Another common mistake is to make someone who used to work for the family, who is now a banker for the family, or whom you trust, like your lawyer, the CEO, or CIO of the family office, and give them the job of setting it up for the family. People in this position usually have a lot of trust in the family, but this person doesn’t have much experience setting up and running a single-family office.

It could be a mistake to not set up a good hiring process for this or those important roles. It’s not that we say you shouldn’t hire that person, but it is very helpful to have more than one option, and each one should be carefully compared and professionally evaluated.

Statistics show that there is a very small chance that you and your family already know who is the best person for the job and don’t look at any other options. We see this happen a lot when a family sets up a single-family office, but it would never happen when hiring for important jobs in the family business.

Change is the only constant

A single-family building is not a fixed structure; it changes over time. People forget this a lot. Families change over time, and so does the family office. It needs to grow and change along with the family members’ needs and wants, as well as the constantly changing outside situations.

It can be very hard to make sure that the family office can adapt to new situations and keep working well. This is especially true when the next generation is involved for the first time or when there is a change. The people who work in the family office and family members need to carefully and regularly plan for ongoing change. If they don’t, they might lose touch with the next generation.

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What Is a Family Office?

Understanding family offices.

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Do You Need a Family Office?

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What Is a Family Office and Do You Need One?

Adam Hayes, Ph.D., CFA, is a financial writer with 15+ years Wall Street experience as a derivatives trader. Besides his extensive derivative trading expertise, Adam is an expert in economics and behavioral finance. Adam received his master's in economics from The New School for Social Research and his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in sociology. He is a CFA charterholder as well as holding FINRA Series 7, 55 & 63 licenses. He currently researches and teaches economic sociology and the social studies of finance at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.

single family office business plan

Investopedia / Madelyn Goodnight

A family office is a private wealth management advisory firm that serves ultra- high-net-worth individuals (HNWI) .

Family offices are different from traditional wealth management shops in that they offer a total solution to managing the financial and investment needs of an affluent individual or family.

For example, in addition to financial planning and investment management, many family offices offer budgeting, insurance , charitable giving, wealth transfer planning, tax services, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • Family offices provide a broad spectrum of private wealth management services to one or a small number of ultra-high-net-worth families.
  • Besides financial services, family offices can provide various kinds of planning, charitable giving advice, concierge services, and other comprehensive services.
  • An important responsibility a family office has is to educate next generations in the handling and management of their wealth.
  • Single-family offices serve one individual and their family, while multi-family offices serve more than one family, and are less expensive due to economies of scale.
  • The need for a family office can be determined by the extent of a family's wealth and the complexity of its life due to that wealth.

A family office provides a wide range of services tailored to meet the needs of HNWIs. From investment management to charitable giving advice, family offices may offer a dedicated team of specialists to service these clients.

Family-run businesses may require structures for succession planning, such as trusts or a foundation for the family assets. Given the complexity of these situations, clients may utilize a family office to help manage the assets and align interests.

The family office can also handle non-financial issues, such as private schooling, travel arrangements, and miscellaneous household arrangements.

Family offices are typically defined as either single-family offices or multi-family offices (MFOs). Single-family offices serve just one ultra-affluent family. MFOs are more closely related to traditional private wealth management practices. They seek to build their business by serving many clients.

MFOs are more prevalent due to economies of scale that allow for cost-sharing among the clientele.

Importantly, what a family office does can differ widely. While one client may need a family office for high-caliber advice from a range of experts, another may need a family office to organize their lifestyle needs. 

The Responsibilities of a Family Office

Providing advice and services for ultra-wealthy families under a comprehensive wealth management plan is far beyond the capacity of any one professional advisor.

It requires a well-coordinated, collaborative effort by a team of professionals from the legal, insurance, investment, estate , business, and tax disciplines.

Often, a family office provides high-level financial planning through an integrative approach. Combining asset management, cash management, risk management , financial planning , lifestyle management, and other services, family offices help clients navigate the complex world of wealth management.

Legacy Planning and Management

After a lifetime of accumulating wealth, high-net-worth families can be confronted with several obstacles when trying to maximize their legacy . These obstacles can include confiscatory estate taxes, estate laws, and family or business issues.

Given this complexity, a comprehensive wealth transfer plan must take into account all facets of the family’s wealth, including the management or transfer of business interests, the disposition of the estate, management of family trusts, support for philanthropic desires, and family governance.

To ensure the family’s wealth transfer plan is well-coordinated and optimized for its legacy, family offices work collaboratively with a team of advisors from each of the necessary disciplines.

Lifestyle Management

Many family offices also serve as a concierge for families, handling their personal affairs and seeing to their lifestyle needs.

This service could include conducting background checks on personal and business staff, providing personal security for home and travel, aircraft and yacht management, travel planning and fulfillment, and the streamlining of business affairs.

Investment Management

For a single family, a family office may be responsible for investment portfolio management, commercial real estate purchase, sale, and property management, private equity deals, hedge fund investments, and venture capital investments.

Family Wealth Education

A family office is responsible for educating younger members of the family in the proper handling of wealth and how it can or should be used, based on the family's values. The family office can help instill in next generations an appreciation for their wealth and its demands. With the right education, a family office can help maintain family unity and prevent discord over money issues between the generations.

John D. Rockefeller is thought to have established the first full-service, single family office in the U.S. in 1882. In 1937, when he died, he was worth $1.4 billion. That's equivalent to approximately $255 billion as of 2019. The Rockefeller family office exists to this day.

Types of Family Offices

Traditional family office.

A traditional family office is an entity established by a wealthy individual to manage the family's wealth. It usually has a staff of experts who protect and grow the wealth. The staff might include a financial advisor, tax specialist, estate planner, accountant, and more. All are employed by the family, so there aren't the conflicts of interest with products and services that might be found if they worked for other financial institutions. The overarching objective is to serve the family's demanding financial interests.

Multi-Family Office

A multi-family office is a firm that manages the wealth of more than one family. It offers the same types of services that a traditional family office offers. Its variety of experts tailor wealth-related solutions for each family's financial and household needs.

Beyond investment management, these might involve bill-paying, transfer of wealth plans, philanthropic advice, wealth education, and more. Multi-family offices usually charge a percentage of investment portfolio assets under management for their services.

They can be less expensive than traditional family offices because they work for more than one family. However, a family has less control over these providers, as a result.

Outsourced Family Office

An outsourced family office is a network of appropriate service providers—financial advisor, lawyer, accountant, etc.—who collaborate on behalf of a client. Typically, one of the professionals is appointed to coordinate all communication and efforts.

The fact that they're authorized to consult with each other about one family's financial business is what separates them from other professionals who provide the same services.

An outsourced family office can handle many of the same matters that traditional and multi-family offices handle. These might include philanthropic planning and family wealth education. This type of family office is usually less expensive than a traditional family office. However, the family also has far less control over the professionals.

Whether or not someone needs a family office depends on the extent and complexity of their wealth, as well as the demands that wealth puts on their family. Certain situations may require a variety, or teams, of specialists with access to high-value resources that can address a long list of important issues.

Broadly speaking, those with a net worth of $200 million might consider establishing a traditional family office.

What's a Family Office?

A family office is a private wealth management firm established by an ultra-high-net-worth family that provides that family with a selection of personalized services that include investment management, financial planning, estate and tax planning, philanthropic investing, concierge services, and more.

Is a Family Office the Same as a Wealth Advisory Firm?

Not really. Wealth advisory firms can offer some of the services that a family office offers, such as portfolio management and investment management. However, wealth advisory firms typically have many different clients while a family office focuses on one (or several if it's a multi-family office). What's more, family offices offer a much larger range of services to address the complete list of wealth-related needs an ultra-high-net-worth family has.

A family office is established by ultra-high-net-worth individuals for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, a family office needs to manage and grow wealth. It also has to provide a wide variety of other services that can help a family manage the complexities and demands associated with that wealth.

While a family office may be appropriate for some extremely wealthy individuals and families, most highly affluent people should be well served by the professionals at a wealth advisory firm.

CitiBank. " A Guide to Establishing a Family Office ." Page 4.

Deloitte. " Modern History of Family Offices ." Page 1.

CitiBank. " A Guide to Establishing a Family Office ." Page 19.

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When a family accumulates generational wealth, managing financial assets and non-financial matters can become a complex undertaking. Whether it's overseeing investments and real estate, handling recordkeeping and financial reporting, managing households, or philanthropic planning, meeting these complex needs takes time.

For this reason, many ultra-high-net-worth families offload critical responsibilities to family offices, which are businesses that offer services to meet each family's financial and non-financial needs. Of course, such bespoke services come at a cost, so determining whether a family office is right for your family will require an analysis of your needs relative to the cost of meeting them.

Here's what to consider when deciding whether a family office makes sense for you.

Which services do you need?

There's no industry standard for what constitutes a family office, which has created a good deal of confusion in the marketplace. While many investment management and wealth advisory firms cast themselves as viable substitutes to family offices, most can't offer the full spectrum of services provided by a family office, which typically includes:

  • Investment management: Asset allocation, manager selection and due diligence, and performance reporting.
  • Estate and tax planning: Sophisticated estate-planning strategy design and coordination, income tax planning and preparation of annual income tax returns.
  • Liability management: Help families leverage their assets to obtain traditional or specialty financing, as well as manage and monitor their overall debt exposure.
  • Risk management: Help protect physical and digital assets by helping them acquire property and casualty insurance, personal security, and cybersecurity.
  • Philanthropy: Advise on family philanthropy—such as creating the right giving vehicles and conducting grantmaking due diligence—while providing administration and bookkeeping.
  • Recordkeeping and reporting: Manage day-to-day finances, from paying household staff and other service providers to producing financial statements. 
  • Lifestyle management: Manage primary households and vacation homes, as well as provide many concierge services including health care and travel support.
  • Family dynamics and education: Provide support in setting up family meetings, educating family members on financial and other matters, and developing the family's mission, vision, and values.

Many family offices offer dozens of services. Whether a family office is right for you depends on your specific needs and budget, but also how much value you put on factors such as privacy and control. 

What level of support do you require?

There are two main types of family offices:

  • Single-family offices (SFOs) are organizations created by a single ultra-high-net-worth family to meet their specific financial and lifestyle needs. SFOs are typically structured as a business entity (LLC, C Corp, or S Corp), with the number and expertise of staff depending on the family's needs. The benefits of an SFO include privacy, control, and complete alignment of the interests of the family and the employees of the SFO. As a general rule of thumb, creating an SFO only makes sense for families that have more than $100 million in net worth, since the annual cost comes to about 1% to 3% of that sum.
  • Multi-family offices (MFOs) are registered investment advisors (RIAs) created to meet the needs of more than one family. Most MFOs have a minimum assets under management (AUM), net worth, or fee level threshold—with most working for families with over $30 million in net worth. Some MFOs use an a la carte model, allowing you to pick and choose among their various services. And because they spread their services—and their related expenses—among multiple clients, their fees tend to be much lower than SFOs. Investment management from an MFO generally costs between 0.30% and 0.70% of the assets under management, whereas the fees for non-investment services vary substantially by service and provider. In addition to a lower price tag, MFOs also offer broad expertise and access to specialized talent, whereas an SFO usually has to partner with outside resources to meet all of the family's needs.  

Historically, families of significant wealth have undertaken a cost-benefit analysis to determine if they should create an SFO or hire an MFO. However, because of increasing complexities involved with managing wealth—more regulations, the cost of technology, and the difficulty in finding specialized talent—many SFOs have moved to a hybrid model in which they outsource certain functions. MFOs have stepped in to fill these voids, allowing many SFOs to streamline their operations and rely solely on one or two employees, reducing their cost. In fact, many in the business now say that a full-fledged SFO with eight or more employees should not be built unless the family is worth at least $1 billion. 

Here to help

If you are in the process of deciding on whether to create an SFO or tap some MFO services, please reach out to your financial or wealth consultant. Your consultant, along with a specialist in the family office business will help guide you through the decision-making process.

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Family office services

Helping you to seize opportunities, manage risks, make a positive impact and protect your family legacy.

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Global family office deals study.

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Family Office Location Guide

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Build your future ready family office in 4 steps

We can help to prepare you for each step of the way – from assessment and vision to work plans and implementation.

Wealth Compass

An innovative integrated digital solution for high net worth individuals and family offices

Built around you.

As a family office, you are a unique organisation – one with many inherent advantages when responding to challenges of an increasingly complex global environment. However, if you expect to grow and preserve your family legacy over the long term, you should consider adopting a new mindset and changing the way you operate. We have identified the key areas you will need to consider when building or re-imagining your family office. We call these the four cornerstones of your future-ready family office.

Your future-ready family office

The four cornerstones provide the insight to develop innovative tools and services to ensure two key results. First, your family office is “built around you”. Second, your family office is future-ready and resilient to shock – enabling you to seize opportunities, manage risks, create meaningful impact and protect your family legacy – now and into the future. Let's reimagine your family office.

4 cornerstones of your future-ready family office

single family office business plan

Cornerstone 1: From values to impact

Renew your licence to operate while building your legacy

The challenge

Your family office business can generate better returns, manage risks successfully, build trust and become truly shock-resilient by adopting an active approach that turns your family values into its most valuable assets, focused on achieving total impact. What’s more, past approaches that target the management of family dynamics and growing wealth as a family office can become dated. To stay relevant, family offices need to redefine their role and renew their licence to exist and operate as your purpose and embedded values become a business imperative for true impact. 

Codifying your family’s values and purpose will ensure they are properly understood and embraced by all. To be successful in this effort, your values and purpose should inform every decision and aspect of your family office. Not only will it guide your investment strategy for better returns, it will have a positive effect on the beneficiaries as well as wider society and environment.

Our response

PwC’s multi-disciplinary family office advisors have extensive experience in helping family offices and wealth holders bring their values to life. Our support ranges from codifying family values and embedding them in every decision, to advising on sustainable investments, impact investing , impact measurement, philanthropy and much more. All of this ultimately helps family offices to renew their licence to operate and to deliver on their purpose.

Cornerstone 2: Agility

Seize opportunities and manage complexity as well as the unexpected

In today’s rapidly changing environment, your family office is under increasing pressure to make decisions in a fast and agile way. This is vital if you’re to manage increasing complexity and responses to unexpected events while having the ability to seize opportunities.

Having the right governance and management structures enables nimble decision-making. For your decisions to be effective you need access to relevant, reliable and timely data – as well as having the processes and tools in place to analyse, present and use the data in value-creating ways. This means that managing the family portfolio becomes significantly more complex. Your strategies must include the right operating model, tools and mapping for the right route to digital transformation.

The innovative and responsive solutions we have developed will help you structure your family office to be agile, transparent and effective – while also future-proofing it through digital transformation powered by specifically designed technology for family offices. We can help by identifying and designing the most effective technology solution to provide easy and seamless access to data while enabling you to store, organise and interpret all your information around your wealth, communicate effectively and enjoy peace of mind knowing your data is safe and secure.

Cornerstone 3: Leading practice - fast forward

What does “great” look like tomorrow?

As leading practices continue to evolve, we know that they can only be considered “best” for a finite period and what’s best in class keeps moving forward. Against this background, leading practices can be applied in a host of areas, including, but not limited to governance, location, investment strategies, business models as well as recruitment and retention. Family offices need to understand how to harness and capitalise on current leading practice in these areas and be able to access up-to-the-minute advice on what “good” looks like in all areas and functions to ensure maximum efficiency.

We can show you how leading practices apply to you and how they can bring you the power of our global family office experiences. Equipped with this knowledge, our multi-disciplinary and multi-jurisdictional teams can support you in building your family office from the ground up or advise you on a specific area or need. We can show you what good looks like…today and tomorrow.

Cornerstone 4: Safety and privacy

Managing risks to protect your legacy

We are all now living and working in volatile, uncertain and fast-moving times. So, now more than ever, your family office needs to prioritise all aspects of safety and risk management, including the strategies to follow and the tools to use.

The risk universe is becoming ever more complex.Your approach to safety and risk management should be holistic in nature. The levels of risk that your family office is exposed to are rising every day. You’ll need to be ready to navigate complex risk scenarios that go far beyond the traditional investment and operational issues. Disciplines include digital transformation, technology advancements, cyber security, reputation, climate change, privacy, transparency, personal safety, compliance and succession. 

Backed by the wide-ranging resources and expertise of the global PwC network, our family office teams can bring you support from many of the world’s foremost advisers and thought leaders on cybersecurity, data protection, privacy and transparency. We also give you access to world-leading capabilities and intelligence to keep your business safe and secure, ranging from regulatory compliance to ethical practices to risk management strategy and support across all risk types. 

A personalised and holistic approach just for you.

Our holistic service offerings are built to meet the challenges set in the 4 cornerstones to grow and protect your legacy. Setting up your family office starts with defining the vision for your office and purpose for the family and its wealth. Once we understand the purpose and needs of the office, we help you build on this foundation to design each of the components to seamlessly support your family’s legacy.

We conduct an extensive review through research and interviews to understand past, current and future vision. We help you create an overall plan that encompasses key areas, including operations, technology, staffing needs, advisers and governance that is truly built around you. Regardless of the size, type or complexity of your organisation, we help you build the structure that best serves you to be future-proof and shock-resilient.

Build your future-ready family office Make your family office future-ready

Build your future-ready family office in 4 steps

The thought of setting up a family office could be a daunting one but doesn’t need to be. Our 4 steps guide to build your family office will provide you with a comprehensive yet easy to navigate document that breaks down the process for easier understanding. It is aimed at building your confidence in undertaking the process and our global network of experts are here to help.

Creating a successful family office requires strategic planning and design. With decades of experience, we can prepare you for each step of the way –from assessment and vision to work plans and implementation. Together, we can help you design a strategy to manage the complexity that comes with a family-owned business.

Make your family office future-ready with PwC’s family office Diagnostic Tool

Is your family office ready for tomorrow?

For those with an established family office we employ the PwC family office Diagnostic Tool, a proprietary web-based framework that provides an intuitive analysis of the services, processes, and risks contained within a family office.

Our benchmarking tool is built around the 8 core frameworks identified in PwC’s family office Services and comprises over 200 questions based on best practices for successful family offices. The framework provides a clear outcome for our multi-disciplinary and international teams to design the services you need.

PwC digital family office 

Our drive to support your family office to be future-ready and to meet the digital challenges is outlined in our 4 cornerstones. PwC has partnered up with leading technology developers to provide integrated family office solutions for high net worth families to fully support all your family’s data, reporting and analysis needs.

The leading solution within our Digital family office offering is Wealth Compass , a family wealth portal designed for high and ultra-high net worth families, single-family offices, multi-family offices, trust companies and wealth managers. Our advisers will work with you and your family office to implement Wealth Compass. Wealth Compass is an innovative managed service that provides better visibility into your portfolio, performance and potential risk exposures as well as an automated and efficient back office, so you can focus on strategic decision-making, instead of transaction processing and data management.

What sets us apart

PwC global family office network

We are one of the world’s most extensive networks of multi-disciplinary teams at the cutting edge of professional service for family offices.

With more than 160 years of experience and 5,000 people dedicated to serving family offices and wealth holders across all our lines of service and geographies, we can help you set up your family office or help you strengthen its foundations with our 4 cornerstones approach, family office diagnostic and holistic service offering.

Global family office roundtables

Our global and local roundtables and retreats are exclusive gatherings of family office principals. Our events offer networking opportunities in a private and relaxed setting, drawing on the collective experience of the participants, the hosts and PwC expertise. Attendance at these events is by invitation only. Contact us to find out when the next one will take place.

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Understanding business continuity plans for family offices

  • Family Office Solutions
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business continuity plan family office

Table of Contents

What is a business continuity plan?

Unique challenges of family offices, tailored business continuity planning approach.

  • Key components to a business continuity plan

Collaboration and implementation

Monitoring and improvements.

The pandemic, war between Russia and Ukraine, and economic downturn have prompted many businesses to strengthen their risk management strategies. Preparing for the worst makes it easier to recover from a disaster quickly. This guide highlights the importance of having a comprehensive business continuity plan for family offices to ensure uninterrupted operations and safeguard wealth.

A business continuity plan is a set of procedures and strategies created to keep a company running during and after a disaster. It covers all aspects of the business that can be impacted, including business processes, assets, human resources, and business partners. The plan ensures that employees and assets are safe and the company resumes normal business operations as quickly as possible.

For example, in the event of a fire on the office premises that causes property damage, a standard plan would involve relocating employees to alternate workspaces or allowing them to work from home. Any damaged furniture or equipment would need replacing. If any software were affected, they would need to reboot and reinstall it promptly to ensure the smooth continuation of the business’s day-to-day operations.

Key components of an effective business continuity plan:

A continuity plan must consider many elements because each business differs depending on size and complexity. But a good business continuity plan has the following key components:

Risk assessment : The first step in any continuity plan is identifying potential risks and threats that may cause disruptions. That could include natural disasters, fires, cyber-attacks or economic downturns. The point is to be aware of all the potential risks so that you can prepare a plan for mitigating them, should they occur.

Business impact analysis : During an emergency, maintaining all operations may not be possible. A business impact analysis helps to determine which activities should continue to function during the emergency until normal business operations can resume. For instance, profit-generating activities may take priority over team-building exercises.

Recovery strategies : In an emergency, it’s essential to have clear procedures in place. These procedures may involve relocating to a different site, using backup systems, or working with third-party service providers. For instance, a disaster recovery plan (DRP) can help protect data and restore information technology (IT) infrastructure access.

Plan development: During emergencies, the last thing you want to do is think on your feet. That’s why it’s essential to document the business continuity plan in writing ( see example here ). This document should detail all potential risks to the company and the steps and protocols to take in response. It should also cover crisis management and how to recover critical business processes.

Testing and training : For a business continuity plan to be effective in emergencies, it must be tested. Ensuring that all employees are trained on their roles and responsibilities during disruptions is important. Regular training and drill exercises can test the effectiveness and improve preparedness.

Just like regular businesses, family offices face various risks and threats. The difference is that disruptions to a family office’s operation can significantly affect the family’s wealth and legacy. That’s why business continuity is often linked with succession planning .

The 2023 North America Family Business Report by Brightstar Capital Partners and Campden Wealth revealed that most family businesses ( 61% ) do not have a written and formal succession plan. Furthermore, a recent study showed that family offices are not adequately stress-testing for potential threats.  This lack of preparedness is often due to a shortage of internal expertise, leading to underestimating risks. Furthermore, family members are often uncomfortable with planning for disruptions, causing family offices to react to threats rather than proactively preventing them.

Regardless of the type of family office, specific core components of the continuity plan remain essential, such as risk assessment, recovery strategies, and regular testing. However, to make the process easier, family offices should consider tailoring their continuity plans to suit their unique goals and objectives.

For example, a single-family office may prioritise wealth management, family governance and succession planning. While a multi-family office may prioritise their client’s needs and customised services. A tailored approach enhances the family office’s ability to maintain uninterrupted operations, safeguard client confidentiality and preserve wealth during distressful times.

Successfully implementing a business continuity plan for family offices requires active collaboration and communication among family members, employees, and external service providers. Each group plays a crucial role in ensuring successful execution and maintaining uninterrupted operations during disruptions.

Family members must be well informed about the plan and allowed to make critical decisions on what functions to prioritise. Employees need to be trained and take responsibility for the recovery activities. And external service providers should be informed about the plan’s objectives and their roles in maintaining operations.

Coordinating the plan with all stakeholders can be exhaustive. Family offices can seek the help of consultants and external advisors to make the process smoother. Additionally, they can use technology platforms to achieve seamless collaboration and communication. Check out some examples of service providers below:

iPaladin is a digital family office operating system. The platform removes inefficiencies, lowers risk, improves compliance and provides a solution built specifically for managing complex single and multi-family offices.

Way2B1 is an integrative platform that streamlines life management for families, organisations, and the teams and professionals who support them. It helps to organise all family information in one hub, simplifying logistics and managing access to family data.


Trustworthy is a Family Operating System®, an online service that helps modern families and their advisors organise, protect and optimise their important information all on one platform. It ensures a secure and collaborative experience between families and their advisors.

Eton Solutions

Eton Solutions is a comprehensive platform designed to enhance the capabilities of family offices. It provides precise data, streamlines operations, and minimises risk, allowing you to concentrate on delivering value and strengthening client relationships.

Nines is a technology platform that aids families and their private service professionals manage their households. It enables estate managers, house managers, personal assistants, nannies, housekeepers, private chefs, and property managers to work more quickly and efficiently.

To guarantee the success of a continuity plan, it is crucial to maintain regular monitoring and updates. It ensures that the plan can operate seamlessly during unforeseen events. Performing tests and simulation exercises help to pinpoint any flaws in the plan. Consistent drills lessen recovery time, boost employee morale, and can result in cost benefits. It’s important to note that ongoing improvements and updates should occur regularly, at least once a year, to address the evolving risks and changes in the industry.

Further Reading

How to choose a family office advisor

How to choose a family office advisor

As family offices evolve and become more complex, their advisors continue to play an important support role. Here is our guide to successfully selecting the right advisor for your specific needs.

How to start a family office

How to start a family office

As wealthy families tackle the complex challenges of generational wealth preservation and succession planning, the family office concept has grown in popularity. However, setting up a family office is a time consuming and potentially costly exercise which needs to be carefully planned and executed.

How to select the best accounting software for your family office

How to select the best accounting software for your family office

Accounting, though it may be less thrilling and cutting-edge than AI or alternative investments, plays an essential role in the smooth functioning of family office operations. It is the backbone on which all other activities and processes are built. This guide explores family office accounting, how it works, its features and how to select the best accounting software provider for your organisation.

A Simple guide to asset allocation for family offices

A Simple guide to asset allocation for family offices

Asset allocation is crucial for family offices to manage their investments effectively and balance risk and reward. Our comprehensive guide on asset allocation for family offices covers key factors to consider, common strategies, and best practices.

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Moscow-City – The Moscow International Business Center

  • 3 years ago

The Moscow Intenational Business Center

Moscow-City is an iconic location for life and work in Russia’s capital. Enormous skyscrapers, business centers, the best restaurants and retail spaces – all this is concentrated in one place. The ultramodern Moscow-City towers are truly striking in their outward appearance, and the layout of the apartments inside and the fantastic views that can be seen from the higher floors are nothing short of impressive.

This skyscraper compound, often referred to as Moskva-City, is the Russian take on Manhattan, where businessmen strike multi-million dollar deals daily while ordinary life goes on next door. Its state of the art spaces offer the ultimate convenience. The infrastructure of this business district is so well-developed that anyone can find something interesting for themselves here: from residential apartments to boutiques, clubs, exhibitions and more.

When the foundations for the Moscow-City skyscrapers were laid, a special kind of concrete was used, the properties of which are amplified by many times compared to standard concrete. Even in the event of a plane crashing into one of the buildings, the structural integrity of the towers will be preserved.

The architects of the Moscow-City Business Center have created a unique locality that has integrated into itself the hub of the capital’s business life and a whole ensemble of historical monuments. Anyone can admire the beauty of these skyscrapers from within or without the compound. There are also a number of apartments for sale or rent available in the MIBC itself. But first, let’s have a look at some more interesting facts about the financial core of Russia’s capital.

  • 1 How It All Began
  • 2.1 Moscow-City Central Core
  • 2.2 Tower 2000
  • 2.3 Evolution Tower
  • 2.4 Imperia Tower
  • 2.5 Moscow Tower and St. Petersburg Tower
  • 2.6 Steel Peak Tower
  • 2.7 Federation Tower
  • 2.8 Mercury City Tower
  • 2.9 OKO Tower Complex
  • 3.1 Afimall City Shopping Center
  • 3.2 Bagration Bridge
  • 3.3 Expocentre Fairgrounds
  • 4 Renting and Buying Real Estate in Moscow-City

How It All Began

The history of Moscow-City goes all the way back to 1992. The government of Moscow at the time wanted to bring into existence its own skyscrapers like the ones in London or New York. And the idea caught on. In 1992 the project for the construction of the huge “Moscow-City” MIBC compound was enthusiastically approved, kick-starting the painstaking preparatory works. The original intention was that the skyscrapers would only house office space. However, as time went on, the towers began to welcome in ordinary residents who wanted to live on the territory of this business and finance hub.

Moscow-City is undoubtedly a city within a city. Its grandeur is mind-boggling. It is perfect in every way: from location to infrastructure. And today, anyone can get a feel of the atmosphere of the “capital city” of Russia’s business world – many of the apartments in Moscow-City are available for rent. Any citizen of Russia and even nationals of other countries can make use of these offers.

What It’s Like in 2021

Today Moscow-City is not just a magnificent and fascinating sight, but also a real hub for the work, life and leisure of thousands. Its infrastructure is organized in such a way that there is no need to leave the territory of the “city within a city” at all. This business district contains everything one may need for work and recreation. And if one does decide to venture out into the larger metropolis, the MIBC’s three subway stations make this remarkably simple to do.

Moscow-City stands on the Presnenskaya Embankment . Each of the buildings in the district has a name, which simplifies its identification. Some of the buildings form complexes that are united under one name, such as the Neva Towers and the Naberezhnaya Tower complex of two skyscrapers and one high rise. There are a total of 16 towers in the MIBC, of which the most popular are:

  • Moscow-City Central Core;
  • Tower 2000;
  • Evolution Tower;
  • Imperia Tower;
  • City of Capitals (Moscow Tower and St. Petersburg Tower);
  • Steel Peak Tower;
  • Federation Tower;
  • Mercury City Tower;
  • OKO Tower Complex.

Moscow-City Central Core

This is the most complex building within the MIBC compound. Its total floor area is a whopping 1 476 378 sqft (450 000 m²). It consists of two massive parts, each of which boasts a truly impressive infrastructure. The underground part includes 3 Moscow Metro stations, a parking lot for automobiles and a shopping mall. The aboveground part houses a concert hall and a hotel.

Tower 2000 is a skyscraper having 34 stories. Its total floor area is 200 318 sqft (61 057 m²), most of which is office space. The key feature of this skyscraper is its direct connection to the Bagration Bridge, which has its own shopping arcade. The tower has everything one may need while working here, including a large parking lot and several restaurants.

Evolution Tower

This elegant structure is 836 feet (255 m) high – that’s a whole 54 stories! The total floor area here is 554 462 sqft (169 000 m²). The Evolution Tower’s key feature is that it has its own Wedding Hall. This skyscraper houses large office spaces, a parking lot and several restaurants.

Imperia Tower

MIBC’s Imperia Tower is the undeniable focal point of the MIBC’s business life. Its height is 784 feet (239 m), which means one can hold conferences and resolve key business matters on the 59 th floor! And that really is amazing! The tower has everything: offices, hotels, restaurants and parking lots. But if you want a truly unforgettable experience, visit the viewing platform! It is situated on the 58 th floor and a simply astounding view of Moscow can be seen from it.

Moscow Tower and St. Petersburg Tower

The Moscow and St. Petersburg Towers are the chief representatives of the MIBC. The Moscow Tower has 76 stories and is 990 feet (302 m) high, while the St. Petersburg Tower has 65 stories and stands 843 feet (257 m) tall. Both towers offer fantastic views of the capital city.

Most of the floors of these two skyscrapers are taken up by luxurious sky apartments. There are also several recreational and entertainment centers, office spaces, restaurants, etc.

Steel Peak Tower

Also known as the Eurasia Tower of Moscow-City, this supertall skyscraper has a total of 680 912 sqft (207 542 m²) of floor space. Most of this is taken up by offices, and the rest – by residential quarters (around 65 616 sqft or 20 000 m²). The tower also houses a number of the greatest restaurants, studios and shopping centers.

Federation Tower

The Federation Tower is a complex of two skyscrapers, known as Tower East and Tower West. Tower East is the second highest building in Europe (the first is a skyscraper recently erected in the city of St. Petersburg). Its height is a colossal 1 223 feet (373 m) and that makes 95 stories! Tower West, on the other hand, is noticeably shorter at 794 feet (242 m).

The Federation Tower is a multifunctional complex.

Mercury City Tower

The Mercury City Tower skyscraper is widely known as one of the tallest buildings in Europe. Its height is 1 112 feet (339 m) and it has 75 stories. It is multifunctional by concept, holding within its walls shopping centers, offices and all kinds of other spaces. It is also possible to rent apartments here.

OKO Tower Complex

The OKO Tower Complex consists of two towers – the North Tower (49 stories and 803 ft or 245 m in height) and the South Tower (85 stories and 1 155 ft or 352 m in height).

Each of the MIBC’s tower complexes has its own recreational and entertainment areas, restaurants and parking lots. The top floors of most of these buildings contain luxurious fully-furnished apartments. At night, the towers shine with bright lights, while inside them the panoramic windows reveal astounding views of Moscow. This breathtaking view of the capital of Russia is why visiting Moscow-City is a must!

What Not to Miss

There are many interesting landmarks within the Moscow-City compound, but three of them are truly deserving of special attention:

  • The Afimall City Shopping Center;
  • The Bagration Bridge with two galleries and a shopping arcade;
  • The Expocentre Fairgrounds.

Afimall City Shopping Center

The Afimall City Shopping and Entertainment Center is located in Moscow-City’s Central Core. It is divided into 4 zones, each with its own theme – one for every season of the year. The shopping center houses the biggest indoor fountain found worldwide. The height of this watery wonder is 118 feet or 36 meters.

The shopping and entertainment center contains everything one might expect from one of the largest centers of its kind:

  • Retail brand stores;
  • Exhibitions;
  • Game rooms;
  • and Restaurants.

The main recreational space is roofed with a giant transparent dome, which is an impressive sight to behold.

Bagration Bridge

Bagration Bridge with its upper and lower galleries has a shopping center all of its own and was the first structure to be built as part of the Moscow-City business district. Its lower gallery is a shopping arcade and its upper gallery is an open-air viewing platform with a spectacular view of the MIBC and the Moskva River. The hall of the bridge houses the 23 foot tall sculpture called “Tree of Life”. Having gone through the bridge via either one of its two galleries, a pedestrian would find themselves standing right on the Kutuzovsky Prospekt.

Expocentre Fairgrounds

The Expocentre Fairgrounds exhibition venue is located at the very heart of the capital. The first exhibition held at the Expocentre happened all the way back in 1959, much earlier than the MIBC was erected. Today it is the venue of many interesting events.

Exhibitions with very diverse themes are regularly held at this complex. An up-to-date schedule can be found on the official webpage of the Expocentre. The events can be free or fixed-price entry, depending on their type.

Renting and Buying Real Estate in Moscow-City

Moscow-City is not only a work and business hub, but also a residential neighborhood. Any citizen of Russia can rent or buy apartments or elite sky lounges here. The variety of residential real estate available inside the skyscrapers is impressive, including options for any pocket. The following buildings in the MIBC contain residential blocks:

This skyscraper has a mirror glass façade which reflects the passing clouds. Just imagine how beautiful that looks! Anyone can buy an apartment in the Federation Tower. Such properties are not only a good investment, but also a mark of prestige. The average price of residential real estate here is 45 million rubles for an apartment with a total floor area of 334 sqft (102 m²). The average price of a square meter (3.28 square feet) is in the range of 650 to 700 thousand rubles. There are two- and three-room apartments available in the Federation Tower, each with its own loggia. As for rent, the minimum price of one month’s stay in a three-room apartment in this skyscraper is 300 000 rubles per month.

The Mercury City Tower skyscraper welcomes citizens from all parts of Russia. This building is no less tall than the world-famous Dubai skyscrapers. Living in its apartments is a delight. The minimum cost of an apartment in the Mercury City Tower is 75 million rubles. The average price of a square meter (3.28 square feet) is 800 thousand rubles. And for those looking for a lower price point, some of the properties are also available for rent – in this case you will pay a minimum of 250 thousand rubles per month.

The Imperia Tower is a key cluster of interesting offers. The best options for buying and renting apartments within the MIBC can all be found in this skyscraper. The lowest price of a residential apartment here is 40 million rubles. A square meter (3.28 square feet) in a luxurious apartment in the Imperia Tower currently costs 600 thousand rubles, while the price range of the listings available for rent in this skyscraper is from 350 thousand all the way up to 1 million rubles per month.

This complex, standing on a faceted or “crystal” base, is an architectural engineering project boasting spectacular design. Behind its impressive façades is an abundance of penthouses and apartments having floor areas in the range of 262 sqft (80 m²) to 984 sqft (300 m²). The minimum price of an apartment in the OKO Tower Complex is 40 million rubles (the price of a square meter (3.28 square feet) is 500 thousand rubles). You can rent an apartment here starting from 400 thousand rubles per month.

City of Capitals

The City of Capitals is an exemplary architectural complex. Its sum appearance gives the impression of a huge city. Inside its walls are spacious apartments available for purchase and rent. This complex is considered to be especially prestigious. The prices of apartments here start from 50 million rubles, while the minimum cost of renting is 400 thousand rubles per month.

Please note! The price of real estate available for purchase or rent depends on: the tower, the floor, the total floor area, the furnishings and/or interior design, and other factors.

The key advantages of buying/purchasing real estate in Moscow-City are:

  • Favorable location;
  • Convenient transportation links;
  • Well-developed infrastructure;
  • High safety level;
  • Efficient architecture;
  • Panoramic windows.

Buying real estate in Moscow-City is very much a rational decision, most appealing to those who value the ultimate level of comfort. The residential apartments here boast impressive interior design solutions executed in the contemporary style.


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