Multi-family offices (MFOs) typically provide a variety of services including tax and estate planning, risk management, objective financial counsel, trusteeship, lifestyle management, coordination of professionals, investment advice, and foundation management. Some multi-family offices are also known to offer personal services such as managing household staff and making travel arrangements.
The modern concept and understanding of family offices was developed in the 19th century. In 1838, the family of J.P. Morgan founded the House of Morgan, which managed the families’ assets and in 1882, the Rockefellers founded their family office, which prevailed until today.
The development of the multi-family offices came as a result of the growing number of wealthy families, as well as the rapid developments in technology within the financial markets which required greater sophistication and skill in financial advisors in the 1980s and 1990s. The difficulty in attracting and retaining such talented employees became more difficult. These changes, combined with the consolidation of the financial services industry, significantly diminished the role of the bank trust departments that traditionally served the wealthy families. These trends resulted in an increased need and cost for family office-type services. To defray such costs many families choose to be serviced by multi family offices.