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Burgeoning family offices manage $5.9 trillion: Campden

ZURICH (Reuters) - The number of family offices -- companies that manage portfolios for individual families -- has risen by 38% over the past two years worldwide, advisory group Campden Wealth said, with the firms overseeing assets valued at $5.9 trillion.

“We estimate that there are now 7,300 single family offices worldwide, with 42% housed in North America, 32% in Europe, 18% in Asia-Pacific and 8% in the Emerging Markets of South America, Africa, and the Middle East,” research director Rebecca Gooch said.

The biggest growth came in emerging markets, where the number of family offices rose by half over the period, followed by Asia-Pacific (+44%), North America (+41%) and Europe (+8%).

The total estimated wealth of the families they work for stood at $9.4 trillion.

The trend has been helped as the ranks of the ultra rich -- people whose wealth exceeds $50 million -- grow even wealthier.

And as the wealthy target greater investment diversification and as business owners hand over the reins to successors, family offices are sprouting in financial hubs as well as emerging markets, including South America, Africa and the Middle East.

Family offices offer a one-stop solution to managing the wealth of the rich, including investments, charitable giving, taxation and wealth transfer. Staffed by bankers, fund managers, lawyers and tax experts, some even provide overseas private schooling and travel arrangements as add-on services.

Campden sees further growth in assets.

“Given the rapid rise in the number of family offices globally, broadly speaking, the total assets under management will likely continue to grow,” Gooch said.

Reporting by Michael Shields and Oliver Hirt, editing by John Miller and David Evans