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UBS urges ultra high net worth families to develop strategic plan for transfer of wealth

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Established markets facing biggest ever wealth transfer
Asia’s share of single family offices stands at just 17 percent

Zurich/London, 25 April 2017 – UBS, the world's largest wealth manager, today announces the launch of the Family Office Compass, a strategic toolkit to help ultra high net worth families flourish across generations.

The Family Office Compass addresses one of the key findings of the Global Family Office Report 2016: Nearly 70 percent of family offices expect a generational transition within the next 15 years, yet just 37 percent of them believe that the next generation want to play a more prominent role in managing their family's affairs. This reluctance is often not due to a lack of interest or aptitude, but rather an inability to identify ways to participate that suit their personal interests and life trajectories. For many families, placing trust in potential successors can be a challenge. Family offices can find it equally demanding to maintain relevance with the younger generation. The Family Office Compass is designed to help overcome these potential obstacles, so that generational transition is a success and family wealth continues to grow multi-generationally.

The Family Office Compass, developed in conjunction with the Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, not only guides families in how to set up a state-of-the-art family office, but also offers them a perspective on the strategic role of a family office beyond traditional and short-term wealth management. It demonstrates how a family office can guide the family from generation to generation, ensuring that members stay unified and preserve and grow its wealth.

Meanwhile, new research by Campden Wealth shows that the global population of single family offices (SFOs) today is 5,300. Over 75 percent of these are located in either Europe or North America, while another 17 percent are in Asia Pacific and over 8 percent in emerging markets. These single family offices cater to individuals with USD100 million or more in investable assets.

According to Campden’s estimates, 740 family offices globally are owned by ultra high net worth individuals with assets under management of USD1 billion or more in investable wealth. Of these, 30 percent are based in Europe, 36 percent in North America, 24 percent in Asia Pacific and 10 percent in emerging markets. The UBS/PwC Billionaires Report (2016) found that there are 1,397 billionaires across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Based on this number and our estimate of billionaire family offices per region, we can calculate that 65 percent of European billionaires have a family office, compared with 50 percent of those based in North America and 34 percent in Asia Pacific.

Josef Stadler, Head of Global Ultra High Net Worth, UBS, said: “A strategic family office – which plans and anticipates the changing nature and activities of the family, its environment, and wealth strategy - can be a unique competitive advantage for families of Great Wealth. Currently, only 30 percent of generational transfers are successful, so we urge families to think strategically about how they can use a family office to support continued wealth preservation and growth across generations.”

John Davis, Founder and Chairman Cambridge Institute for Family Enterprise, Harvard Business School, added: “Successful families need to grow their assets well above their consumption rate, but they also need to maintain unity in decision making and develop both family and non-family talent to achieve these objectives. Failure to do so can slow the family down, and in prolonged cases signal the end of a family’s wealth. The strategic role of the family office should therefore not be underestimated.”

Media contact

Headland Consultancy
Del Jones – +44-20-3805 4860; djones@headlandconsultancy.com
Oliver Tilley – +44-20-3805 4836; otilley@headlandconsultancy.com
Danny Calogero – +44-20-3805 4849; dcalogero@headlandconsultancy.com
Martin Robinson – +44-20-3805 4828; mrobinson@headlandconsultancy.com

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