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Bloomberg Singapore recently hosted a virtual Family Office Forum, which examined the city state’s increasing prominence in a sector which is expected to see US$15 trillion transition to the next generation between now and 2030. Asian ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) families are expected to account for a significant share of first generation owners crossing 60 years of age.
In his welcome remarks, Bloomberg’s ASEAN Head, Steven Yankelson, pointed to the growing appeal Singapore offers to investors in terms of access to pan-Asian and global opportunities and how it is attracting more US and European family offices, in addition to Asia-based families.
Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Deputy Director Spencer Hsu in his keynote speech noted that the number of family offices in Singapore grew five-fold between 2017 and 2019.
More than 150 participants across Singapore, Hong Kong and ASEAN attended the forum from a mix of single family offices, multi-family offices, consulting firms and private banks. According to results of the live audience poll, the prime mandate of Singapore-based family offices is in investment returns and asset allocation (47%) , private equity or direct deals (19%) and 9% are in managing private bank accounts.
Only 11% of family office managers indicated that they were involved in family succession or legacy planning – and only 4% considered their family office to be “very well” prepared for succession planning and inter-generational wealth transfer while 45% said they were either only a “little” or “not at all” prepared for these future transitions.
When asked to rate – from 1-5 – the level of discretion given to them by their principals, 64% of participants in the forum indicated that they have relatively high levels of discretion. Raffles Family Office Managing Partner Kendrick Lee sees this trend continuing and expects a shift among family offices in Asia towards more discretionary mandates in the next 10 years.
Mr. Yankelson sees Bloomberg playing a part to support this burgeoning market. He said: “We are seeing more professionals from asset management and hedge funds joining family offices and, as a result, the technology stacks required have also become increasingly sophisticated. We are excited to support the growth of this sector and will continue to play our part to be a technology partner for family offices.”