Pros and Cons: Working At A Single Family Office

Pros and Cons: Working At A Single Family Office

More and more investment professionals want to work at single family offices. Alone in Europe, there are almost 500 important single family offices listed in our database. Many of them are relevant employers. But what are the pros and cons of working for a single family office? The team spoke with several single family office investment professionals

Pro 1: High salary and opportunities

As mentioned in another article about single family office salaries, the payment at SFOs is more than decent. Employees are maybe paid worse than in top investment banking (and private equity) jobs, but when taking working hours into account the payment is better than in most other investment jobs. Furthermore, there are lucrative co-investment opportunities, bonuses and profit share options (especially for executives).

Pro 2: Quite safe job

Single family offices are active as evergreen investment vehicles, backed by billions of euros of assets under management. While in bad times investment banks massively lay off staff, single family offices are mostly constant in their employee numbers. Often only bad results or disputes with the management endanger a job at an SFO.

Pro 3: Working on interesting projects and on the money

While some single family offices are rather defensive, others work on interesting projects: investing in relevant fields like pharmaceutical research or renewables or pursuing private equity buy-and-build strategies. When working for a single family office, employees directly work on the money and have huge responsibilities.

Pro 4: Decent working hours

Last but not least, single family office working hours are way better than in investment banking. Of course, it’s not a 9-to-5 job, but also night shifts are rather unusual.

Con 1: Slower deal flow

Compared to an investment bank, a private equity fund or a VC, the deal flow at single family offices is way slower. When we look at SFOs investing in private equity, there are usually 1-2 investments made per year (if at all). In comparison, some private equity funds are working on 1-2 deals per month in good times. The single family office teams are smaller, the investment style is rather defensive. This leads to fewer deals and a longer working time per deal. For investment professionals who like to work in a highly dynamic environment that might be boring.

Con 2: Rather defensive investment style

That contra point fits to the first one. The main goal of SFOs is the preservation of family wealth. The thereby determined asset allocation is rather defensive and focused on low-risk investments. Once again, that might be too „boring“ for investment professionals who want to work on many high-profile deals with a certain degree of risk.

Con 3: Sometimes working in the shadow of family members

Especially in smaller single family offices, the team is often led by family members. That can be a disadvantage due to a lesser degree of freedom. While partners at private equity funds can make many own decisions, single family office staff is sometimes „in the shadow“ of family members who lead the firm.

Con 4: Narrow investment focus

Many single family offices have a narrow investment focus, e.g. only considering investments through external asset managers. Once again, that can be boring for some investment professionals.

How to start a career at a single family office?

The first step to get a job at a single family office is to get a family office insider. is the leading source for information about single and multi family offices. You should:

  • Sign up for our newsletter here to get the best job offers. We publish a monthly newsletter of the most relevant single family office news. The newsletter includes new family offices, family office investments, reports about industry trends and – soon – also relevant single family offerings. Don’t miss that opportunity!
  • Follow us on LinkedIn. Be the first to get-to-know relevant single family office news and SFO job offerings directly through your LinkedIn newsfeed.

This article is part of our single family office career section. 

Picture source: Hunters Race

Relevant single family office lists

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