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More Than Half of Single-Family Offices Outsource Investment Function

More Than Half of Single-Family Offices Outsource Investment Function

Wealth managers got some good news today: Fewer chief investment officers are working inside family offices, according to a new survey by the Institute for Private Investors.

Nearly half of the single-family offices surveyed by IPI outsource the CIO function. In 2005, just one out of four family offices outsourced the investment function, but in just six years, the number has nearly doubled. Six in ten respondents reported assets over $200 million, with one in five overseeing $1 billion plus. Over three-quarters of those single family offices overseeing less than $500 million outsource the function, according to the survey.

Investment firms, consultants, wealth boutiques, multi-family offices and even private banks could all gain assets as this trend toward outsourcing escalates, according to IPI founder and chief executive Charlotte Beyer.

“How the firms will prove their superiority over both one another and the in-house capability raises the issue of metrics for an advisor, sometimes referred to the advisor report card,” Beyer said. “The firms which can most concretely show their ‘value-add’ as shrewd allocators and astute fund pickers will likely prove to be the winners in this race for new business.”

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Indeed, the survey showed, hiring one firm to assume the duty of a chief investment officer has become a popular choice.

“Mandates given to these firms encompass recommending managers or funds, and their range of duties often include tactical or strategic asset allocation recommendations, as well manager selection and monitoring,” according to IPI. “In some circumstances the firm places assets in comingled funds or limited partnerships for economies of scale advantageous to both the family office and the firm.”

Single family offices aren’t alone in outsourcing. Wealth managers and multi-family offices are also increasingly outsourcing their investment decisions to outside asset managers - and stepping up the scrutiny of prospective candidates beyond investment performance to include on-site visits, monitoring personnel changes in companies and keeping tabs on the personal lives of firm principals.

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