U.S. family offices lead global ranks with $396K salaries

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It pays to be a senior executive in a U.S. family office.

Private investment firms of rich families there have the greatest number of C-suite executives making more than $396,000 a year, according to a report from recruitment firm Agreus Group. About 40% of chief executive officers earn more than that, as do a third of chief investment officers and a quarter of chief operating officers.

Roughly 36% of family office CEOs in the Asia-Pacific region have annual salaries exceeding that amount, while less than a quarter do in Europe, South America and Africa, according to the compensation report, which surveyed 671 family office professionals.

“You want to be in the U.S. for the biggest packages,” said Tayyab Mohamed, president of the U.S. market at London-based Agreus. “The talent pools in the U.S. from where family office staff usually come from — banking or management consulting, for example — are already very well paid.”

Family offices are loosely regulated, privately owned entities that manage money for the wealthy. They’ve proliferated this century, spurred by the growth of fortunes in technology, finance and real estate. There are more than 10,000 single-family offices globally, at least half of which were started in the past two decades, according to accounting firm EY, including those of Alphabet Inc.’s Eric Schmidt and media scion James Murdoch.

A quarter of the world’s 500 richest people are in the U.S., according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. About 6% of the country’s family offices have more than $5 billion of assets under management, while roughly a third control $500 million or less, according to Agreus. New York, California and Florida are the most popular locations.

“Whether it’s a private office or a family office, the U.S. has been doing it for centuries,” Mohamed said. “But it’s now becoming much more professional in other countries as well.”

Family office hiring has slowed dramatically during the pandemic, down as much as 80% in the first half compared with a year earlier, according to Paul Westall, an Agreus director.

“We are seeing encouraging signs that, moving into July, the recruitment activity” is returning to normal levels, Westall said in an email.

Bloomberg News
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