The FamCap Family Offices

Obama has a family office – many other politicians have them as well

Politics is often the route to fortunes in countries a little less democratic than the US and the UK. But these days, through highly lucrative speaking engagements, seven-figure book deals, and lucrative business connections, politicians in the West can often make enough money to set up a family office. 

And so it is with Barak Obama, the 44th president of the US, who, according to recent appointment disclosures on LinkedIn connected to his foundation, looks to have a family office. Addar Levi, the outgoing general counsel of the Obama Foundation, also holds the same position at the Obama Family Office, according to Levi’s LinkedIn profile. 

Levi is replaced by Shawn White, who was general counsel for the Board Family Office Services and the Broad Foundations, all owned by billionaires and philanthropists, Eli and Edythe Broad.

OK, the Obamas, although rich, aren’t billionaires, but they have an active and increasingly high profile foundation. And their family office looks to be clearly linked to the foundation. Also, the appointment of White, who worked for the family office and foundations of the Boards, indicates the Obamas are keen to pursue a similar strategy, ie, most of the money they make is linked to the work of the foundation. 

Of course, Barak Obama isn’t the first politician to have a family office – and certainly won’t be the last. Here are some other prominent politicians and political dynasties – some current, some past – with family offices. 

Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises/Park Agency

The Kennedy family is America’s most famous political dynasty – and they have a huge, but secretive, fortune, behind them. Much of that fortune stems from the business and investment acumen of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr, who set up Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprises in 1927 to manage his assets. 

The family office still exists today, and along with Park Agency, which manages the real estate part of the family office’s assets, oversees a sizable portfolio. Back in the late 1970s, the family’s fortune was estimated at between $300 million and $500 million, according to a New York Times article. That fortune is likely to have grown significantly since. 

At least two members of the family work for the New York City-based family – Chris Kennedy, the chairman of Joseph P. Kennedy Enterprise , and Stephen Kennedy Smith, a board member and principal of the family office. 

Here are short profiles of some other politician-linked investment offices: 

Albright Capital 

Co-foundered by the former US secretary of state Madeleine  Albright in 2005, Albright Capital invests in private markets and often partners with family offices. One of those family office partnerships was discussed in an earlier Family Capital article. 

Huntsman Family Investments

Set up by Jon Huntsman, Snr, the Salt Lake City-based family office managers the wealth of the Huntsman family, which includes Jon Hunstman Jr, the former governor of Utah, who also ran for president in 2012. 

Innotech Advisers

Innotech Advisers is the family office of David Sainsbury, a former member of the UK Labour party and science minister under the Tony Blair government. Sainsbury is also a member of the eponymous family who own one of the biggest supermarket chains in the UK. Although a family office, Innotech Advisers was set up to give away most of its investment returns to charity. 

Malcolm Turnbull family office

Malcolm Turnbull, the former prime minister of Australia, has been investing in venture businesses for some time, and uses an unnamed family office to do his bidding. He amassed a small fortune as a Goldman Sachs partner and a venture investor. 

The Pritzker Group

The Chicago-based investment office is owned by J.B. Pritzker, the governor of Illinois and a member of the Pritzker family dynasty. The Pritzker Group is a big investor in venture capital and private equity. J.B. set it up with his brother, Tony. 

PSP Capital Partners 

The private investment firm founded by Penny Pritzker, again another member of the Pritzker dynasty – she is J.B. and Tony’s sister, and former politician. Penny Pritzker served as secretary of commerce under the Obama administration.

RDV Corp

The family office of the DeVos family – in particular, Richard and Betsy DeVos. Richard ran unsuccessfully for the governor of Michigan, and his wife, Betsy, was secretary of education under the Trump administration. 

Solamere Capital

Co-founded by Tagg Romney in partnership with his father Mitt Romney, the US senator and former presidential candidate, Solamere is a Boston-based multi-family office. Mitt Romney stepped down in 2019 when he became a US senator. Solamere works as a closed multi-family office. 

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