Q/A: SFOs Around the World

Q/A: SFOs Around the World

A Q&A with Barbara Hauser


Q: Where around the world do you see great interest in families exploring to create an SFO?

Q: Such families have options, global banks, private banks, MFOs, etc., why an SFO?

Q: Why is governance important in creating an SFO?

Q: How can families better go about creating SFO infrastructure to be mindful of taxes and estate planning?

Q: What order of procedures do you recommend a family go through in creating an SFO?

Q: In future research Q&A white papers we’ll isolate another region of the world, however for the purposes of this one, guide us to how a gulf family who decides to create an SFO goes about it?

Q: How do Shariah investing standards play into the decision of investment focus and talent in an SFO. Are such SFOs much more direct investing focused through their internal SFO as opposed to external manager allocators?

Q: What interest do the Gulf families have in family governance, and why do you think that is?


Q: Where around the world do you see great interest in families exploring to create an SFO?

A: I see the most interest in the Gulf Region, where there are a large number of first and second generation wealthy families. For the last several years I have been working with families in Saudi Arabia, going there about 8 times a year (and in nearby Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, Qatar and Dubai).

I have not seen much recent interest in Europe (with more of the old wealth and with some harsh tax regimes).

Asian families have a lot of interest, and a few seem to have very well-organized family offices (especially in Hong Kong and Singapore).

London is still used as an important center for family offices, even when none of the family resides in London. To a lesser extent Switzerland is still a location chosen by many, although its recent attacks by the IRS have damaged its reputation for con dentiality.

The United States is not an attractive jurisdiction for non-US taxpayers, so New York, for example, does not play the same important role as does London.

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