About 200 single family offices in Singapore manage some $27 billion in assets: Tharman

SINGAPORE (THE BUSINESS TIMES) – The number of single family offices (SFOs) in Singapore has grown in recent years to about 200 at present, said Senior Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam on Monday (Oct 5).

Recent industry research estimated that each SFO typically manages assets in excess of US$100 million (S$136 million), noted Mr Tharman, who is also the minister in charge of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).

That means the total assets under management by SFOs in the Republic could be around US$20 billion (S$27.2 billion), he said in a written response to a parliamentary question.

MAS does not have hard data on the scale of SFOs’ operations because these family offices are not registered with or licensed by the financial regulator, given that SFOs do not manage third-party monies.

The Securities and Futures Act does not define the “SFO” term. It typically refers to an entity which manages assets for or on behalf of only one family and is wholly owned or controlled by members of the same family.

Member of Parliament Ang Wei Neng had asked for the number of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) who have set up or received approval to establish family offices in Singapore, the total quantum of assets attracted to Singapore through these HNWIs, and the number of Singaporeans employed by such family offices in the city-state.

In his response, Mr Tharman said SFOs usually employ small teams of trusted advisers and investment professionals, and “there could be several hundred in the industry”.

Beyond direct employment, such family offices also generate indirect employment in Singapore when they engage external finance, tax and legal professionals for advice on wealth planning and operational matters, he added.

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