The study estimates that there are around 500 family offices actively investing in Europe, with some 100 managing over €1bn of assets. The study found that the average allocation to private equity by the offices interviewed was 12%, with the highest commitment being close to 50%.
The report also notes that more family offices will be established as those retiring company owners who encounter difficulties in finding successors to lead their businesses sell their enterprises. These sales generate cash for family offices to invest, and they are likely to follow their peers investing in private equity and venture capital.
Low volatility rather than high returns was the main driver of investments, with geographic spread being seen as an important factor. Environmental and ethical considerations featured high on the list of criteria. Limited member single family offices were the most active investors in private equity.
The key conclusion of the study was that general partners wanting to include family offices in their funds should analyse the structure, culture, family history, and investment criteria before approaching such an investor, in order to improve their chances of attracting them into their funds.