Why the UAE is emerging as a global hub for family offices
Topics discussed by speakers at the Investopia Conference 2023 in Abu Dhabi included the reforms introduced to bring international families to the region.
07 MAR, 2023
BY SUNIL SINGH, CITYWIRE MIDDLE EAST
The UAE is emerging as a global advisory hub for private wealth and family offices, with reforms such as simplified personal tax residency and new legislation for single-family offices attracting international families.
This was one of the key takeaways of the panel discussion at Investopia Conference 2023 in Abu Dhabi on Family Wealth Trends, where industry leaders from Ropart Asset Management Funds, Tsangs Group, Patrimium Multi-Family Office, Future Positive, and PwC shared insights on the evolving role of family offices in global markets.
Nabyl Al Maskari, Executive Chairman, Al Maskari Holding, emphasised the critical role that family offices play in achieving sustainable development goals in the Middle East region.
According to Maskari, family offices must focus on creating empowerment without capital while remaining mindful of issues such as gender inclusion and environmental sustainability. He also highlighted the need for significant capital from family offices, in addition to investors, to ensure sustainable development.
He noted that his family office focuses on empowering the family without capital and considers soft qualities such as gender inclusion and environmental impact in their investments.
Zaid Al-Qaimi, Managing Partner at Patrimium Multi Family Office, added that the level of sophistication of family offices has significantly increased in the last decade, with most families transitioning from investing in one asset, such as real estate, to employing investment professionals and diversifying into other assets like private equity and venture capital.
Patrick Tsang, Chairman of Tsangs Group, discussed the shift in focus for family offices since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Tsang believes that family offices, traditionally conservative with a focus on wealth preservation, have become increasingly interested in venture capital and private equity.
The discussion also touched on the importance of technology and digital assets. Tsang emphasised that his family office invests heavily in technology and anticipates significant growth in the coming year.
Meanwhile, Todd A Goergen, Managing Partner at Ropart Asset Management Funds, provided insights into the US perspective on family offices.
Goergen put focus on the history of US family offices in taking risks, in contrast to Asian family offices’ more conservative approach.
He also mentioned the portfolio approach of US family offices, investing a small percentage of their wealth in various assets, including Bitcoin, and the welcoming business environment in the US.
Ismael Hajjar, Partner, Private Business and Family Office, PwC, noted that the UAE is becoming a global advisory hub for private wealth and family offices.
The government has introduced various reforms, including legislation at the Abu Dhabi Global Market and the Dubai International Financial Centre for single-family offices, to attract international families to the region.
Hajjar also highlighted that many family offices are embracing the concept of “archipelago” and diversifying their assets across different jurisdictions to avoid geopolitical risks.
Finally, the session addressed the changing nature of family structures and wealth concentration. Northern Trust Corporation’s George Triplow emphasised that family offices are increasingly viewed as institutions and are becoming more sophisticated in their investment strategies.
Overall, the session highlighted the growing sophistication of family offices in the UAE and the region and their increasing interest in venture capital and private equity.
It also emphasised the importance of technology and geographic diversity in investment strategies and the need to diversify assets across different jurisdictions to mitigate geopolitical risks.
The speakers recognised the evolving nature of family structures and the importance of family values in investment decision-making.