Practice Areas & Industries: Withers Bergman LLP


Family Office & Family Business Return to Practice Areas & Industries

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Practice/Industry Group Overview

The meaning of Family Office is still fluid. A family office may be an entity set up to run a family's affairs which has separate legal personality from the family. It may just be a place where the family administers its affairs or it may be a network of employees and advisors in a number of different places who work together to run the family's investments.

Globally, it is thought that there are 11,000 family offices in existence - with 2,500 to 3,000 in the US a further 2,500 in Europe, and 200 in Australia. This number is expected to grow in time, as the needs of wealthy families become more complex.

Having looked after successful people, their families and advisers for over 100 years, we have real insight into the concerns of wealthy families. This insight helps us when we assist our clients to set up and operate their family offices.

From its origins, advising the English gentry on the running of their estate offices, our family office practice has evolved and expanded so that we now act for global families with complex cross-border interests.

We work on the establishment and governance of single and multi-family offices, and provide advice as they expand (and occasionally when they are wound up). In practice, the range of services performed by a family office can vary enormously, according to the family's vision. Whether the family office is large or small, domestic or international, we provide the comprehensive and integrated legal service required.

We advise on family office structure, governance, operations and dispute resolution, as well as on tax and wealth structuring issues. We have a dedicated funds, investment and tax team which consolidates our experience in setting up tax-efficient investment structures on and offshore. Typically, we work closely with other leading service providers in finance and investment, as well as accounting and taxation, property management, and other service areas vital to any family office.

We have an extensive client list, including traditional family estate offices in the UK and also in the Caribbean, US and Latin America, Dubai, Hong Kong and Singapore. In some cases clients have set up a network of offices worldwide to manage their international interests.

Additionally, we work with governments worldwide to enhance the regulatory environment for the wealth-holding structures used by family offices.

Recent work

  • Helping a number of international clients to set up offices - a reflection of growing demand for family offices.
  • Working with several internationally based family offices on complex global restructuring projects for the families.
  • Reviewing the structure and operations of several established family offices with the goal of providing recommendations for improving or expanding services provided.
  • Advising the holders of a significant stake in a recently listed company on the structuring of IPO proceeds and their retained shareholdings, as well as the formation of a family office, the UK tax treatment of further investments - in particular offshore funds and deep discounted securities, the establishment of a hedge fund, the acquisition of a private jet and private yacht and the formation of a charitable foundation.

Articles Authored by Lawyers at this office:

CRS and Beneficial Ownership
Filippo Noseda, June 09, 2016
In today’s difficult economic climate, countries need more than ever to ensure that they collect all the tax revenues that are due to them in order to fund public expenditure and reduce public debt. The arrival of new technologies has made it easier to collect and exchange information to...

Disclosure of Ownership of UK Property
Lindsay Brown,Christopher Groves,Justine Markovitz, June 09, 2016
At the international anti-corruption summit today David Cameron has announced significant proposals that will affect foreign owners of UK property.

AIM - The Market for International Companies
David Guin,Anthony Indaimo,Alan S. Jacobs,Ben Simpson, April 28, 2016
The AIM market (‘AIM’) of the London Stock Exchange plc (the ‘Exchange’) is targeted at growing international companies. AIM is an ideal public market for growing and entrepreneurial international businesses seeking to expand and raise their global profile.

UK Budget 2016 - Swiss Highlights
Lindsay Brown,Justine Markovitz,Ian Perrett, March 30, 2016
The run-up to today's UK Budget was dominated by rumours of major changes to the taxation of pensions which did not materialise. Instead, there were announcements on CGT, SDLT, tax avoidance and evasion and the pending non-dom changes, not to mention the introduction of a sugar tax.

UK Budget 2016: CGT, Stamp Duty, More Anti-Avoidance and a Boost for Entrepreneurs
Sophie Dworetzsky,Katie Graves,Christopher Groves,Judith Ingham,Gillian Johnson, March 30, 2016
Against what he described as a backdrop of storm clouds gathering, George Osborne sought to deliver an upbeat Budget with a surprising amount of good news.

Market Turmoil Creates Planning Opportunities
N. Todd Angkatavanich,Alistair D. Christopher,Jeremy B. Crickard,Mark E. Haranzo, March 02, 2016
While the state of the stock market may be causing stress for some investors who might otherwise hope to hunker down, ignore the market ups and downs and weather the storm, the current market climate actually presents a planning opportunity for Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts, or GRATs.

Senior Managers and Certification Regime
Elaine Aarons,Harvey Knight,Meriel Schindler, March 02, 2016
On 7 March 2016, the first wave of the Senior Managers and Certification Regime will become effective. The senior management of all UK regulated banks, building societies and any regulated business that forms part of a banking conglomerate will be required to perform Senior Management Functions...

Italian Budget Law - Taxation Measures Aim to Increase Economic Growth
Giulia Cipollini, February 22, 2016
The 2016 Budget Law (so called 'Legge di Stabilità 2016'), Law no. 208 of 28 December 2015, was published in the Official Gazzette no. 302 of 30 December 2015. The Law offers many appealing provisions for domestic and foreign taxpayers and aims at increasing growth by easing the heavy tax...

International Estate Planning - Starting with a Will
Patrick Hamlin,Patrick Hamlin,Freda Lim,Chua Yee Hoong,Chua Yee Hoong, February 11, 2016
Globalisation has changed the way we live. A less discussed topic is that globalisation has also changed the way we die. Cross-border investments and worldwide acquisition of assets have increased dramatically with technological advances and the ease of travel. It is also an increasingly common...

Trusts Under Threat - The Impact of the Common Reporting Standard (CRS)
Filippo Noseda, January 27, 2016
Filippo Noseda has examined the impact of the OCED's Common Reporting Standard (CRS) on trusts at a time when they are under threat in a number of continental European jurisdictions in an article which was first published in Trust Quarterly Review, Volume 13, Issue 3 2015. Filippo concludes that...