The number of family offices is set to triple in the Asia-Pacific region over the next decade, according to estimates from the US bankCiti.
Family office numbers are expected to soar from 500 to 1,500, far exceeding the growth of other regions within the same time frame, said the bank. Family offices manage the investments, estate planning, philanthropy and personal needs for wealthy families.
Many of the wealthy first-generation entrepreneurs in Asia are aging and will need to consider how to pass on their assets. As the numbers of wealthy individuals in Asia swell, the demand for wealth management will increase.
The value of Asian wallets is expected to rise by 6 per cent in the next five years, excluding Japan, double the global rate, according to the Boston Consulting Group. Asia’s ultra rich population, defined as those with $30 million or more of liquid assets, increased 15 per cent in 2010, faster than individuals with at least $1 million of investable assets, according to a report this year published by Capgemini and Merrill Lynch Global Wealth Management.
Citi believes that the region is underrepresented in its family office population and has the largest potential for growth. There are around 6,000 family offices worldwide, and just 8 per cent of these are based in Asia-Pacific.
Richard Straus, Asia head of global family offices and institutions at Citi private bank, told Bloomberg in an interview that in particular, family offices from the US and western and central Europe are keen to set up shop in Asia, particularly in Singapore.
“In the past two years, I’ve spoken with dozens of European and North American family offices who have set up or are seriously considering setting up family offices here,” Straus told the newswire. Singapore's popularity stems from its burgeoning prominence as a wealth management centre. The city-state is forecast to overtake London and Switzerland as a world wealth management hub by 2013, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey this year.