Single family offices (SFO) are professional organizations dedicated to managing the personal fortunes and lives of very wealthy families. Tracing their lineage back to the Roman major domus (head of the house) and the Medieval major-domo (chief steward), the modern SFO began to take shape in the mid-19th century, with the development of private banks and trust companies formed to help the Industrial Revolution’s entrepreneurs manage their wealth. Their charge was—and still is—to protect their particular family’s investments and assets for both current and subsequent generations. Since the beginning, affluent families have been attracted to SFOs, rather than to commercial banks, investment companies or other wealth optimization services, because of their promise of exclusivity, privacy and customization.
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