Single family offices are rather secret firms that manage the wealth of Europe’s HNWI families. In many cases you have never heard of the most important single family offices, neither will they ever appear to a broader audience. But did you know that some SFOs are even stock-listed? That means you could go to your favorite broker and directly buy shares of them – like a family member. We explain why some family investment firms are stock-listed and introduce you to three of them.
Why it sometimes makes sense for a family office to be stock-listed
Usually, the highest good of a family office is their privacy. So, being stock-listed seems to be counterproductive at first glance. But the listing also has many advantages. First of all, it makes the distribution of payouts quite easy. Listed companies pay out the earnings, while the banks and brokers take care of the dividends and transfers. Since many of the richest European families are today consisting of thousands of family members it makes sense to deal with the payouts through dividends. Another reason for the listing of some family offices is the need for cash: for example if one family wanted to enlargen their business or acquire new companies a listing helps to collect new money without taking on debt.
Disclaimer: We were calling the listed investment firms as single family offices since they are mainly dedicated to one family. Of course, through the stock listing, it is possible that many different families invest in them.
RIT Capital Partners, Lord Jacob Rothschild Family Office
In 1961, Lord Jacob Rothschild started the Rothschild Investment Trust for serving investments of the British Rothschild family. The company multiplied its net assets massively over time, from 3 million GBP in 1961 to almost 3 billion GBP today. In 1980, Evelyn de Rothschild prohibited the use of the name Rothschild. Since then, the investment company is called RIT Capital Partners. Today, the company is mainly owned by Lord Jacob Rothschild and other family members. RIT invests in “a widely diversified, international portfolio across a range of asset classes, both quoted and unquoted”. RIT Capital Partners is an active investor in international financial markets. The portfolio consists of equity, credit and private investments. The investor is participating in direct investment as well as fund investments.
Wendel SE, Wendel Family Office
Wendel SE is listed on the Paris stock exchange. The company was founded by Jean-Martin Wendel in 1704 and is rooted in the steel industry. Today, the company is rather an investment holding. Wendel SE is still mainly owned by approximately thousand members of the Wendel family, who hold 36,4% through Wendel Participations. The investment company operates “at the crossroads of industry and finance”. Portfolio companies include Bureau Veritas, Saint-Gobain or Nippon Oil Pump. The company is an active private equity investor.
Société Foncière, Financière et de Participations, Peugeot Family Office
The French Peugeot family stock-listed the family’s investment company – Société Foncière, Financière et de Participations FFP SA – in 1989. Today, the company is led by Robert Peugeot. The family still owns 79,5% of FFP through its family holding Établissements Peugeot Frères. FFP’s main asset is a 9,3% share in the Groupe PSA who is mainly known for the car brand Peugeot or the automotive supplier Faurecia. Other portfolio companies include Zodiac Aerospace or Groupe SEB. FFP is an active investor: besides the listed holdings like PSA the group also invests in private equity, real estate, and financial markets.
Picture source: Anthony Delanoix
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