The complexities and globalisation of financial and capital markets, coupled with the evolution of technology have brought about an onset of growing opportunities for asset owners and investors alike who continue to seek new investment opportunities to generate wealth and asset growth.
In this report, we seek to share our observations across one group of investors and asset owners- single-family offices (SFOs).
In APAC, there’s been a surge in ultra-high net worth (UHNW) families — bringing an increased demand to hire single-family offices in Singapore to manage, grow, and preserve their wealth and assets. According to the Monetary Authority of Singapore, the number of family offices in the region rose five-fold between 2017 and 2019. And there’s currently no sign of this momentum slowing down.
Number of family offices set up in Singapore from 2017 to 2020 (Source: Illumine Advisory)
In 2020, Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam in Parliament indicated SFO numbers have reached 200, with industry research estimating assets from each family exceeding US $100M. This projects total SFO assets management in the Republic to be around US $20B. As a result, we’ve seen a consistent and growing demand for talent in this area. So, what are family offices looking for in candidates?
WHAT ARE FAMILY OFFICES LOOKING FOR?
EMBODY AN ENTREPRENEURIAL MINDSET
Since SFO teams are lean, they usually require all hands on deck. Top-tier candidates are ones who enlist a solution-oriented mindset; can work quickly; and aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. This direct method of portfolio management and investment has been highly sought after, especially as many look to re-evaluate investments for the generational change of wealth.
SHOWCASE SUBJECT MATTER EXPERTISE
Whether it’s expertise in investments, an industry-oriented trade, legal or HR, candidates demonstrating skills with real-world examples of how their knowledge has made an impact will differentiate them from the average person. SFOs are seeking candidates with subject matter expertise who are adaptable and ready for change. It’s important, therefore, to own your domain confidently in order to gain full trust.
COMMUNICATE LONG-TERM ASSET PRESERVATION
Candidates aren’t only competing with other candidates here — they’re also competing with investment teams who may include the next generation of family members wanting to manage their own wealth. This could either be to build their careers for managing third-party wealth later or to simply be more involved in the financial infrastructure. When working with a family office, it’s a long-term setup that institutionalises the holding structure for the entire family’s assets and facilitates succession planning. As the one implementing a framework, it’s been shown many are preferring simpler and leaner financial structures. This makes joining an SFO even more competitive, so candidates should prepare for the interpersonal effects caused by these financial structures being put into place as well as how it will be shaped for the long term.
EMPHASISE ENVIRONMENTAL, SOCIAL & GOVERNANCE (ESG) MODELS
Over the last few years, we have observed that the next generation of asset owners who are taking over the decision-making process are prioritising the commitment to managing portfolios that are environmentally and socially conscious. Candidates with experience in ESG and sustainability have been sought after as family offices seek to adopt a more sustainable and multi-generational approach to their wealth planning. Understanding and aligning values in accordance with philanthropic efforts are key to succeeding in this growing industry. This includes allocating families’ wealth into newer, more innovative ways for a positive impact, including gender balance and sustainability. This open-minded route for investment teams with gender-balanced leadership has been shown to outperform according to a co-written Catalyst at Large report. This also fosters purpose and community between family members — so candidates for SFOs play a pivotal role in helping build a legacy and stewardship in the family’s wealth.
WHAT ARE SFO CANDIDATES LOOKING FOR?
ACCESS TO DECISION MAKERS FASTER
Candidates accustomed to working in larger, more bureaucratic organisations outside of Singapore want the ability to be near decisionmakers and have answers in real time. This can be challenging with some legal counsel and compliance who may prefer the governance and regulatory frameworks granted from larger companies.
INPUT ON SHAPING THE INVESTMENT FRAMEWORK
Investment professionals enjoy the opportunity to be directly involved helping the family shape their strategy. This includes advising in the areas of wealth structuring, family administration, personal travel and investment management to bring the benefits of a structured and thoughtful wealth plan. Candidates want their fair shot at being changemakers as globalisation continues to spread across Asia, North America and Europe.
MINIMISED BUREAUCRATIC WORK
Candidates are keen to handle fewer stakeholders in their day-to-day work. With family offices, the bureaucratic red tape is considerably smaller, ensuring they won’t have to manage multiple stakeholders across the globe. Singapore’s strong legal and financial infrastructure uniquely positions it for both single family offices and multifamily offices. We expect to see increasing demand for candidates across both the investment and support functions for family offices.
CIO - Asia Single Family Office
CIO, Private Markets - Asia Single Family Office
Head of Fixed Income - Asia Single Family Office
Head of Real Estate - Asia Single Family Office
Head of RE Asset Management - Asia Single Family Office
Senior Quantitative Analyst - Asia Single Family Office
Portfolio Manager, Healthcare - Single Family Office
CFO - Asia Single Family Office
Finance Director - Asia Single Family Office
Investment Director - Asia Single Family Office
Director Compliance - Asia Single Family Office
Associate Director, Legal - Multi Family Office
Associate Director, Compliance - Multi Family Office
Infrastructure - please contact James Rushworth
Commerce - please contact Yvonne Goh
Front Office - please contact Stanley Teo
Front Office - please contact Rachel Liu
Legal & Compliance - please contact Suan Wei Yeo
Human Resources - please contact Amanda Cowley