European Family Office

European Family Office

by Richard C. Wilson & Family Offices Group Association Team

European Family Office Guide

European countries are increasingly becoming home to family offices.  More and more family offices have opened offices in European countries from Switzerland to Germany to the UK.

The following free guide to European Family Offices will help you better understand European family offices. This guide will provide you with free resources to learn more about European family offices.  You should also check out our 100% free book on family offices.

Introduction to Europe

At least in the basic form, family offices have existed in Europe for centuries.  While the mainstream explanation of the family office views it as an American invention, there is some reason to believe that the concept originated in Europe.  As Dr Steen Ehlern, the author of Global Private Wealth Management: An International Study on Private Wealth Management and Family Office Services for Ultra-High Net Worth Individuals writes, “Opposed to common belief, although the term ‘family office’ originates from the U.S., the concept of generic ‘offices’ or ‘gatekeepers’, ‘protectors of family wealth’ etc. goes considerably further back, i.e. to the Crusades and the concept of the “trust”, but also to banking families in Europe (Medicis, Rothschilds).

The United States holds the highest number of family offices compared to any one country.  However, Europe is quickly catching up, bolstered by family office hot spots like Switzerland, London, Monaco and Germany.

Why Europe

Europe is very familiar with the family office concept, even though there is still a huge European wealth market that has not yet used the family office.  There is a huge pool of wealth in Europe and it is only logical that these wealthy families and high-net-worth individuals will turn to family offices to serve their unique wealth management and other needs.

Furthermore, because family offices are more saturated in the American market, there is a high potential for growth in the family office industry in Europe.  There is a high demand for family offices in Europe and relatively few family offices currently in the region.  This is expected to change in the coming years as more and more family offices open in European countries.

Family Offices in Europe

As has been previously stated, family offices are growing in Europe, especially among the wealthier places like Monaco, Switzerland and London.  This trend is expected to continue as more wealthy families and ultra-high-net-worth individuals turn to the family office solution.

The impact made by family offices on alternative investment funds in Europe has been huge.  However, it is hard to quantify this effect as an EVCA study noted, “The high level of discretion of family offices and the various channels they use for investing in private equity and venture capital, make it difficult to quantify their contribution to the European private equity and venture capital market.”

As far as the number of family offices operating in Europe, one 2007 estimate places it in the neighborhood of 500 but it could be more than 1000 by now.  Around 100 of that estimated 500 were considered large (i.e. having  €1 billion of assets under management).  These numbers are now expected to be significantly higher as the family office concept spreads to more and more countries in Europe.
Video Guide

Watch Richard Wilson, CEO of and The Family Offices Group give an overview of Hedge Funds in Europe

Watch Richard Wilson, CEO of and The Family Offices Group talk about Family Office operations in Europe

Listen to an exclusive interview with an Italian Private Equity Professional

European Family Office Resources Guide

European Family Office Resource #1: This white paper covers “Europe’s Family Offices, Private Equity and Venture Capital” and focuses primarily on family offices in Europe.

European Family Office Resource #2: If you are looking for contact details of family offices places such as Europe you may want to consider using a Family Offices Database.  A Family Office Database provides you with the complete contact details for 100’s or sometimes even up to 1,000 global single and multi-family offices within an easy to use Excel spreadsheet format.  Learn more about this by clicking here.

European Family Office Resource #3:  In this document, the history of family offices in Europe is explained by Dr. Steen Ehlern, the author of “Global Private Wealth Management: An International Study on Private Wealth Management and Family Office Services for Ultra-High Net Worth Individuals”. 

European Family Office Resource #4:  Here is our guide to Monaco family offices that includes multiple resources and an introduction to Monaco family offices.   

European Family Office Resource #5: Here is our guide to German family offices that includes several resources and an introduction and summary of Germany’s family offices. 

European Family Office Resource #6: Here is our guide to Swiss family offices that has multiple resources and a 1 page summary of Switzerland’s family offices.

European Family Office Resource #7:  This is an interesting Wall Street Journal article on family offices in Europe. 

European Family Office Resource #8:  This article covers the expansion of American family offices from America to Europe.  The article begins: “American multifamily offices are beginning to venture into the lucrative European wealth market, but the unanswered question is whether the invasion will be welcomed or shunned.” 

European Family Office Resource #9: This news article talks about how the majority of European family offices increased private equity allocation. 

European Family Office Resource #10: Camden Conferences hold a European Family Office Conference in November of 2011.  

European Family Office Resource #11: This Preqin study covers European Family Offices & Foundations in Hedge Funds.

Are you an employee or manager of a family office in Europe?  Then we’d like to keep in touch with you.  Simply send us an email at

Be sure to check out for our family office database and our free book on family offices.

Related Resources

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