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In the world of family offices, a significant trend has emerged where large family offices are reducing their exposure to the stock market and increasing their investments in private markets and alternative assets. According to a recent study conducted by the JPMorgan Private Bank Global Family Office Report, family offices have approximately 46% of their total portfolio allocated to alternative investments, such as private equity, real estate, venture capital, hedge funds, and private credit. This shift away from traditional investments signals a desire for higher returns and lower volatility.

The study found that family offices in the United States, particularly those with assets exceeding $500 million, are even more heavily concentrated in alternative investments. These American family offices had over 49% of their investments allocated to alternatives, with only 22% in publicly traded stocks. The move towards alternative investments represents a significant departure from conventional investment strategies and reflects a growing interest in seeking out opportunities beyond the public markets.

As family offices continue to expand their presence in the investment landscape, their collective assets, valued at over $6 trillion, are beginning to wield considerable influence in the private equity markets, direct deals, venture capital, and private credit. The long-term investment horizon of family offices enables them to hold assets for extended periods, capitalizing on the “liquidity premium” associated with patient capital. Unlike the volatility of stocks, alternative investments offer a more stable valuation over time, attracting family offices with a multi-decade wealth perspective.

William Sinclair, head of the U.S. Family Office Practice at JPMorgan Private Bank, predicts that the growth of family office investments in alternatives will continue to surge. He specifically highlights the potential rise in private credit investments and points out that many clients are currently under-allocated in infrastructure, particularly in digital infrastructure. This forward-looking approach suggests that family offices are seeking out new opportunities for growth and diversification in their investment portfolios.

Beyond traditional investment strategies, family offices are increasingly embracing their role as strategic investors and partners in the business world. Many family office founders, who began as entrepreneurs and sold successful businesses, are now leveraging their experiences to take ownership stakes in other private companies and contribute to their growth. With valuable insights and resources at their disposal, family offices are becoming sought-after allies for companies looking to accelerate their development and innovation.

While family offices are actively pursuing alternative investments, they face challenges in managing their portfolios effectively. The study revealed that less than half of family offices have a defined investment return target, signaling a potential lack of strategic direction in their investment approach. Despite this, family offices are increasingly relying on external advisors and service providers to enhance their capabilities, particularly in areas such as investment management, portfolio construction, and cybersecurity.

Looking ahead, family offices are likely to continue diversifying their portfolios and exploring new avenues for growth and risk management. With a keen focus on alternative investments and strategic partnerships, family offices are poised to play a more prominent role in shaping the future of the investment landscape. By adapting to changing market conditions and embracing innovative approaches to wealth management, family offices are paving the way for a new era of wealth creation and preservation.

Wealth

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