Women in Family Office: Challenges and Opportunities
Family offices are private wealth management firms that serve ultra-high-net-worth individuals and families. They provide a range of services, such as investment management, estate planning, philanthropy, education, lifestyle management, and more. Family offices are often run by family members or trusted advisors who have a deep understanding of the family’s values, goals, and preferences.
However, women are still underrepresented in the family office sector, both as clients and as professionals. According to a 2019 report by UBS and Campden Wealth, only 19% of family office executives are women, and only 9% of family office CEOs are women. Moreover, only 16% of family offices have a gender diversity policy in place, and only 7% have a formal succession plan that includes women.
Why is this the case? And what can be done to change it?
One of the main challenges that women face in the family office sector is the lack of visibility and recognition. Women often play important roles in the family business, philanthropy, or governance, but their contributions are not always acknowledged or valued. Women may also face stereotypes and biases that question their competence, authority, or leadership potential. For example, women may be seen as less risk-tolerant, less strategic, or less ambitious than men.
Another challenge is the lack of mentorship and networking opportunities for women in the family office sector. Women may have fewer role models, sponsors, or peers who can offer guidance, support, or referrals. Women may also have less access to professional development programs, industry events, or educational resources that can help them advance their careers or grow their businesses.
However, there are also many opportunities for women in the family office sector. Women bring unique perspectives, skills, and values that can benefit the family office and its clients. For instance, women may have more empathy, emotional intelligence, or social responsibility than men. Women may also have more diverse backgrounds, experiences, or interests that can enrich the family office’s culture and services.
Moreover, women can leverage their strengths and networks to create positive change in the family office sector. Women can advocate for more gender diversity and inclusion in the family office leadership, staff, and client base. Women can also mentor and sponsor other women who aspire to join or advance in the family office sector. Women can also collaborate and partner with other women-led or women-focused organizations that share their vision and values.
In conclusion, women in the family office sector face many challenges but also have many opportunities. By overcoming the barriers and embracing the possibilities, women can make a significant impact on the family office sector and beyond.