Do I Need a Family Office? A Guide for the Rich and Not So Famous

Ultra-wealthy people, including Bill Gates, have family offices, but so do about 10,000 others. What is a family office, and is it right for you? Get the answers and take a quick quiz to see if you’re a candidate.

A wealthy, well-dressed man holds a glass of wine at a fine dining table.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Several years ago, I spent an entire day with a client walking the opening round of the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament. I enjoy time like that with my clients, and it makes for the perfect op­portunity to hear what’s really on their minds. As we watched the best players in golf hack their way into the second round, he asked me his one, and only, business-related question of the day: “Should I start a family office?”

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This material has been prepared for Illustrative purposes only. It does not provide individually tailored investment advice. It has been prepared without regard to the individual financial circumstances and objectives of persons who receive it. The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management or its affiliates. All opinions are subject to change without notice. Neither the information provided nor any opinion expressed constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.


Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”), its affiliates and Morgan Stanley Financial Advisors or Private Wealth Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Clients should consult their tax adviser for matters involving taxation and tax planning and their attorney for matters involving trust and estate planning and other legal matters.


Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC. Member SIPC. CRC 3405626 01/2021


This article was written by and presents the views of our contributing adviser, not the Kiplinger editorial staff. You can check adviser records with the SEC or with FINRA.

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Matthew Smith
Executive Director, Morgan Stanley

Matthew Smith is an Investment Adviser at Morgan Stanley.  He works with high net worth families to create and implement strategies that include investment management, estate planning, and cash management. Matthew was previously a Managing Director at the J.P. Morgan Private Bank, where he most recently was Market Manager for the High Net Worth Market in Dallas.