Jersey: Family Offices From East To West

Last Updated: 25 November 2014
Article by Richard Joynt

Richard Joynt, director of a family office based in Jersey, and Patricia Woo, a fund and trust lawyer in Hong Kong, speak to Hannah Downie about how family offices differ in Europe and Asia.

What are the primary drivers for families in your respective regions seeking to set up a family office?

Richard: In Europe, the reasons for establishing a family office can be quite diverse. The term 'family office' encapsulates a number of different organisations, from personal-assistant service providers all the way through to complex regulated investment houses. However, when you look at the big picture, most family offices in Europe are driven by two forces: the desire to be in control of the family's activities, and the desire to maximise returns from existing wealth.

Recruitment can be tough for the family office, as the family will disclose a lot of confidential information to new employees and will want to know they can be trusted

Patricia: Maximising returns is a common theme for both European and Asian family offices. The difference is that many Asian family offices are not yet independent units but a department within the family business that makes investments for the chairman and liaises with private banks and fund managers. Yet I have started to see more and more families looking to set up a family office for first-time succession planning and separation of corporate and private wealth.

How are the professionals in the family office chosen?

Richard: For smaller family offices, especially where there is a need for accounting and back-office services, the head of the family office is often a trusted business advisor who has looked after the family for many years – the accountant from the family business, perhaps. However, when the family office becomes more complex, the family may need to bring talent in from a wider pool, using discreet recruitment agents.

Patricia: Besides trusted business advisors such as the chief financial officer of the family business and professionals who are recruited externally, many family offices in Asia are run by members of the family and relatives who are themselves professionals. Many young members in Asian wealthy families are trained in finance or are CFA charterholders. Some have even worked in major banks or funds before returning to set up the family office.

What are the biggest concerns of the family when interacting with the family office?

Richard: Confidentiality. The family office tends to spend a lot on its IT infrastructure in order to prevent information being accessed by a rogue third party. Recruitment also represents a tough decision for the family members, as they will disclose a lot of confidential information to new employees and they want to know these people can be trusted. As a result, they tend to pay well and recruit good candidates – people who appreciate how to keep information confidential.

Patricia: Many Asian families take time to decide if they want a family office, because it takes a lot of planning and determination to institutionalise family processes. Unlike companies, families are used to dealing more with emotions and less with formal processes. With a family office, what used to be unspoken will be discussed and what used to be intangible will be measured. Both the family and the family office have to put in effort to find the best way to deliver the greatest value.

Does the family usually set up the family office with the intention of it continuing for a number of generations?

Richard: This is rarely one of the main drivers at the outset. These are usually complex families with worldwide assets, whose members, to begin with, are looking to bring order to their lives and have professionals deal with complicated questions from external parties – regulators, tax authorities, company registries, etc. The notion of the family office continuing on to the next generation, or perhaps multiple generations, usually comes later in the thought process.

Patricia: In Asia, yes. Family harmony and filial piety are deeply rooted in our values, so a key mission for family offices is sustainability. It goes beyond maintaining the family business and wealth, and can be about the passing-on of family values. Therefore, some family offices use private trust companies to keep control within the family, and such tools as family constitutions, family councils and family meetings to provide a good foundation for future generations.

How is the success or failure of the family office as an organisation judged?

Richard: Normally in both financial and non-financial terms. The capital base of the family, its increase or decrease, and the income generated from all activities usually provide the benchmark for the family deciding if matters are going well. However, the family also judges the family office staff as other employers might – are they responsive and professional? Do they make progress on important projects? Do they deal effectively with third-party advisors? And, perhaps most importantly, does the family office provide good value for money?

Patricia: I have been advocating the notion of five key types of efficiency for a successful family office: financial efficiency, risk-management efficiency, allocative efficiency, external efficiency and cost-efficiency. Financial efficiency is the first level of efficiency, measuring how financially productive the family is. Allocative and external efficiencies are the benchmarks for how well internal and external relationships are managed. The purposes of the remaining two types of efficiency are to optimise the level of risk faced by the family and control the cost.

Finally, what is the best thing about being in the family office sphere from your perspective?

Richard: No family is the same – each family comes with its own challenges and specific needs. What I find most rewarding is when we provide a level of service to a family, or resolve an issue that has been an unwelcome distraction for the family, that leads to them being delighted. Although they require high standards of service, all of our client families are very appreciative and courteous when we help them through a complex problem.

Patricia: I love my work. I love the interaction and the long-term relationship with the families. I love the innovation possible in the family office space. I always tell my clients that they have the level of wealth and influence to create their own games and set their own rules. A family office is exactly the tool to make that happen. I am not afraid of, and even embrace, a high degree of customisation and creativity in my work with ultra-high-net-worth families. It is very satisfying for both parties.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Mondaq Advice Centre (MACs)
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.