What is a single family office?

What is a single family office?

In the realm of wealth management, a Single Family Office (SFO) stands as a bespoke solution for handling the financial and personal affairs of ultra-high-net-worth individuals or families. Unlike conventional financial advisories, SFOs provide a more holistic and personalized approach to managing vast wealth. This article aims to elucidate the concept of an SFO, punctuated with examples of Wirtgen Invest and Korys.

The Essence of a Single Family Office

A Single Family Office is essentially a private organization that manages the investments, estate planning, and personal affairs of a wealthy family. This concept originated from affluent families desiring a dedicated team to meticulously handle their financial complexities.

Core Services of SFOs

  1. Investment Management: SFOs handle diverse portfolios including real estate, equities, and other investments.
  2. Estate and Succession Planning: Ensuring seamless transition of assets to future generations.
  3. Tax Planning: Devising strategies for tax efficiency.
  4. Philanthropy Management: Overseeing charitable activities.
  5. Lifestyle Management: Handling personal affairs like travel arrangements and property management.

Wirtgen Invest: An Exemplar of Family-Centric Approach

Wirtgen Invest, the investment arm of the Wirtgen family, epitomizes a Single Family Office’s approach. It was established following the sale of their family business, the Wirtgen Group, to John Deere. Their focus is on long-term investments across various asset classes including real estate, renewable energy, and technology.

Key Highlights of Wirtgen Invest

  • Diverse Portfolio Management: Wirtgen Invest demonstrates SFOs’ ability to diversify investments, managing assets across different sectors.
  • Long-Term Approach: Emphasizes the SFO’s commitment to sustainable and long-term growth, in contrast to short-term gains.
  • Family-Centric Philosophy: Their strategies revolve around the family’s values and long-term objectives, a hallmark of SFOs.

Korys: Integrating Sustainability with Investment

Korys is the investment company of the Colruyt family, renowned for their supermarket chain in Belgium. Their approach blends sustainability with financial performance, focusing on renewable energy, life sciences, and conscious consumer brands.

Distinctive Features of Korys

  • Sustainable Investing: Korys reflects how SFOs can align investment strategies with ethical and environmental values.
  • Innovative Ventures: Their investment in emerging sectors showcases the SFO’s role in driving innovation and embracing new market opportunities.
  • Family Values and Legacy: Korys maintains the family’s ethos in its investment decisions, highlighting the personal touch inherent in SFOs.

The Comparative Edge of SFOs

SFOs offer several advantages over traditional wealth management services:

  1. Customization: Tailored strategies that align with the unique needs and goals of the family.
  2. Privacy and Confidentiality: SFOs ensure a higher level of privacy in managing family affairs.
  3. Integrated Services: One-stop solution for financial and lifestyle management.
  4. Long-Term Orientation: Focus on sustaining wealth for future generations rather than short-term gains.

Challenges and Considerations

While SFOs provide numerous benefits, they also come with challenges:

  1. Costs: Operating an SFO can be expensive, making it viable mostly for families with significant wealth.
  2. Complexity in Management: Managing a wide range of assets and services requires a skilled and diverse team.
  3. Regulatory Compliance: Navigating complex legal and tax frameworks can be challenging.


Single Family Offices offer a comprehensive, tailored approach to managing the wealth and affairs of ultra-wealthy families. By looking at the examples of Wirtgen Invest and Korys, we see the versatility and personalized nature of SFOs in action. These entities not only manage wealth but also embody the values, legacy, and long-term objectives of the families they represent. As the landscape of wealth management evolves, SFOs stand as a testament to the intricate and personalized nature of managing vast family fortunes.

Picture source: Unsplash+

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