Five alpha single-family offices

What are the top performing family offices? And what are their investment strategies? Here’s a list of five of them - and what makes them so special.

Schonfeld Group Holdings

The family office of Steven Schonfeld, one of Wall Street’s top traders, who’s amassed a billion dollars through his financial trading brilliance and appears to be doing it again through his family office. The Schonfeld Group is benefiting from the big financial institutions cutting their proprietary trading operations because of tighter regulation. This is enabling the Schonfeld group to hire top trader talent as they leave the banks to look for new opportunities. According to reports, Schonfeld has seen annualised returns of at least 20% over the last five years.

Soros Fund Management

The legendary hedge fund run by George Soros that morphed into a family office in 2011 due to regulatory changes continues to achieve impressive results as a family office. And like Schonfeld, Soros is backing top financial talent. Recently, he seeded $2 billion of his own money in a hedge fund started by his former chief investment officer Scott Bessent. Those close to the Soros say he’s still got the midas touch and likely to be making the 20% per annum returns he did for much of the time his family office was a hedge fund.

Cascade Investment

Cascade Investment, which manages most of Bill Gates’s investment business, has been doing well for family since it was founded in the early 1990s. Exactly how well is difficult to know because single-family offices don’t have to report their performance. But it’s likely to run into annual returns in the double digits. Run by Michael Larson, it has many holdings in blue chip companies including 5% in Berkshire Hathaway. According to reports, since 1995 Larson has delivered a compound annual return of 11% for the Gates Foundation - that’s likely to be at least replicated at Cascade.

RWN Management

The family office of the private equity guro Marc Rowan, who was a founding partner of Apollo Global Management, one of America’s most successful private equity groups. RWN is run by ex-Goldman Sachs Ken Glassman and invests in things Apollo wouldn’t invest in. Like other family offices there’s no performance data, but those close to RWN say that it’s likely to be making double digit returns and more.

Karlin Asset Management

The Los Angeles-based family office of Gary Michelson, a spinal surgeon and inventor, Karlin invests in a host of different investment strategies including value securities, distressed real estate and natural resources. Run by David Cohen, the family office has returned consistently impressive returns (double digit) since it was founded in 2005, say those close to the business.