As technological advances have eased international travel and communication, the homes, education, investments and business interests of high net worth families are no longer confined to the jurisdiction in which the family was born. In parallel, over the last decade or so, both single and multi-family offices, have continued to grow in numbers as the greater international mobility of the family has increased the demand for a center of family operations.
Single family offices are private offices that, not surprisingly, manage the affairs of a single family while a multi-family office deals with many different families who are not necessarily related to one another. Multi-family offices are normally commercial enterprises selling their services to the wealthy; single family offices may well have developed from a family run business or a fiduciary services provider.
Interestingly, the concept of a family office has been in existence for centuries. The first family office was apparently recorded in Florence, Italy. According to the website of The Uffizi, the palace was built at the behest of the Medici family in the sixteenth century first and foremost to house the record keeping for their vast financial operation. It only later came to house the Medici's private art collection, the precursor to the public gallery of Renaissance art which now attracts many thousands of visitors every year. The Uffizi was used as the family office or center of Medici family operations for more than two hundred years.
Originally published by www. caymanfinancialreview.com
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