As their numbers grow – and their influence in the world of investing swells – compensation levels for senior managers at family offices appears to be heading north rapidly.
A recent study by the Family Office Network, part of the publishing group Institutional Investor, found that the average total compensation of a senior executive at a single-family office was $844,000 in 2014. The study surveyed 134 senior executives from across the world, although 60% were based in the US.
A similar study done four years ago by a group called the Family Office Exchange found that senior managers were earning an average of around $340,000 a year.
Of course, benchmarking family office compensation levels is difficult. As the FON study points out there is a whole range in compensation levels, from zero to more than $10 million. Someone like Michael Larson, who manages the Gates’ family office Cascade Investment, is likely to be paid a considerable amount. That’s because he could walk into pretty much any money manage job and name his price, given his skills. But he is also paid a lot because he has built up a high level of trust with the family.
Nevertheless, there is a definite trend towards paying family office executives much more money in recent years. In fact, their compensation levels look to be going up much more sharply than investment bankers, hedge fund managers and private equity specialists, who have all witnessed their compensation levels fall, or remain flat at best, since the financial crisis of 2008/2009.