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ARTICLE: The Single-Family Office: Keeping Things Simple

Sebastien Hayoz, Managing Director of Asiaciti Trust, is a keen advocate of the single-family office. But is this the preserve of the ultra-HNWI family or is it a more democratic option for a wider range of wealthy families? Hayoz gave his views in a presentation at the Hubbis Asian Wealth Solutions Forum in Singapore.

Asiaciti Trust, an international trust and corporate services provider, offers specialised wealth management solutions to high net worth individuals, intermediaries, business owners and corporations. Hayoz is well-qualified to advise upon wealth structuring and assets preservation services as Asiaciti offers a broad range of services in many countries, including Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand and Cook Islands.

“The single-family office topic is rather trendy currently,” Hayoz began, and proceeded to explain why. The reasons are rather simple, he reported. “For example, some recent surveys showing that trusts are too complicated and especially for those in Asia control is a vital issue and more than that there are complex issues to understand for trusts regarding succession.”

He turned to life insurance as another alternative. “It is a great solution, but it cannot address all the family’s needs,” he commented, “so it is better to see this as one component of the overall package. And the private trust company is an interesting vehicle, but it is even more complex to explain and for clients to understand.”

For these and other reasons, Hayoz firmly believes the single-family office model addresses many of the issues a wealth family client will face and provides a solution that ticks many, perhaps most, of the boxes they will have listed as essential requirements.

Three core reasons

“There are three core reasons why we like this solution best,” he explained. “First is the ease of establishing an appropriate family system of governance, perhaps not the fully-fledged corporate governance system, but one that works for the family. Second is that it is relatively easy to identify a strong rationale for the establishment of a family-office. Third, the cost of setting up and the assets required to make it worthwhile are not so onerous as you might think.”

Hayoz advised the audience of wealth management professionals that full corporate governance is appropriate for a large family office for ultra-HNWI families with a diverse and complex array of businesses and assets, while he advises the typical HNWI family to focus on the human needs type of the family, to understand human capital, the family mechanism, the family dynamics.

“For example,” he clarified, “ever more frequently the second generation do not want to run the family business. My point is that if we understand the family needs and dynamics, then we can develop the appropriate internal system for family governance.”

Read the full article here.