International Federation of Family Offices launches to support global family office ecosystem

Family office

AFFO – the French Family Office Association – and AIFO – the Associazione Italiana Family Officer - have launched the International Federation of Family Offices (IFFO), an international alliance that seeks to bring together national family office associations from every country, in order to contribute to the international development of family office activities.

The IFFO aims to unite professional associations in order to provide a framework to promote exchanges, best practice and sharing of insights and opportunities, and to understand how the Family Office profession is carried out in each country.
 
For many years, AFFO has been meeting with its foreign counterparts in order to better understand the way in which they operate and the specific characteristics of the family offices in each country. After New York, Singapore, Hong Kong, London, Frankfurt, Hamburg, AFFO visited Milan in November 2019 to meet with Italian family officers. It was following this last meeting that AFFO and the AIFO decided to jointly create a federation to bring together the existing family office associations of each country, with over 50 family offices as members.
 
Jean-Marie Paluel-Marmont, President of IFFO and AFFO, says: “Today’s business environment sees businesses growing very quickly and company exits occurring faster and faster. In this context, the transformation of family businesses is more frequent and the heirs of business owners must address the need to preserve and sustain inherited assets. IFFO's mission will therefore be to facilitate both an international connected network of professionals involved in the activities of the Family Office and also to facilitate interactions with related or neighbouring professions, all in the interest of delivering best-in-class guidance and service to families. This evolution will make it possible to better support family businesses and their owners in their international development."
 
Fadrique de Vargas Machuca, Vice President, Co-founder and Director of AIFO Academy, says: “We believe in the dissemination throughout countries of the values and skills shared by the founding members of IFFO. With that in mind, training courses offering methodologies and solutions dedicated to the growing professionalisation of the Family Office have been already well established for six years in the AIFO’s Master in Family Office programme (and since last year as well for the AFFO’s programme). We anticipate that other future national IFFO member associations may set up the same type of course.”
 
The IFFO also aims to encourage and allow a country’s family offices to come together to create a national association, if one does not exist.
 
The IFFO will facilitate and organise exchanges between the associations of different countries in order to share and take advantage of their respective experiences concerning the management of their association, their resources, and the activities offered to their members.
 
Bernard Camblain, founder and Honorary Chairman of AFFO, says: “As an example of the work we will undertake, each year the AFFO member experts form a commission to go in depth and work on key subjects, in the aim of clarifying them for Family Offices, such as family governance, philanthropy, or real estate, etc. The work of those commissions resulting in the publication of white papers may also inspire the associations of other countries”.
 
Emanuele Giangreco Biancheri, Secretary General of IFFO and AIFO Head of external Relations, says: “IFFO aims to be a place where family offices and families can discuss topics associated with the management of intangible assets, such as the family identity, family heritage, and educating future generations, probably the most important asset in preserving and protecting the family fortune”.
 
Each national association that so wishes will be able to join the IFFO with the agreement of the Board of Directors currently composed of two French members, two Italian members and one English member.
 
In the interest of collaboration and knowledge sharing, it was decided not to have exclusivity for a single association per country.
  
The constantly growing wealth of entrepreneurial families (+9 per cent in 2019 - Cap Gemini) and the transfer of wealth to future generations in the coming decades estimated at USD15 trillion (Economist IU) highlight the need to call on (or resort to) a family office to support them in key moments of their history, and to serve their wealth interests, such as governance, transmission and management of family assets, etc with a trans-generational vision. According to a recent study (EY 2020), there are around 10,000 family offices throughout the world. 
  
IFFO will eventually aim to develop specific activities such as an international study on the Family Office profession: progress and development, growth, current trends; the international extension of the AFFO barometer, carried out annually (opinion poll conducted of its members and actors in the Family Office ecosystem to find out the sensitivities of families and family offices in their investment choices for the past year and the year to come), and meetings between members of the national associations.
 

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