Family offices, firms that manage financial affairs of the world’s richest families, are the most mysterious group of all types of money management companies. Most of the world - even those in the investment business - know very little about them. As the common saying in the industry goes, “Once you’ve seen one family office, you’ve seen one family office.” Every family office varies dramatically in terms of assets under management, staff size and the specific needs of the families it represents, making it all elusively opaque to the public eye.
Trusted Insight uncovered the 20 most secretive single-family offices behind the most prominent names in America, Europe and Asia. Mind you, the higher ranking you get, the less likely you have heard of the name (and even the country in which it resides).
Location: Irving, Texas
Client: Kenneth A. Hersh Family
Source Of Wealth: Energy
Kenneth A. Hersh is an American investor best known for his success in the energy sector, creating the “owner-manager” model that is widespread in the investment world today. He is the CEO of NGP Energy Capital Management based in Texas. Hersh Family Investments operates through Hersh Investment Partners, NLM Capital Partners and a number of related entities.
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Client: The Huizenga Family
Source Of Wealth: Waste Management, Entertainment, Automobile
Wayne Huizenga began his entrepreneur career with a garbage hauling business in Chicago and later grew it into Waste Management Inc., a Fortune 500 company. He later founded Blockbuster Video and AutoNation. Huizenga is also known for his notable presence in sports team ownership, including Florida Marlins and Miami Dolphins, among others.
18. Pisces, Inc.
Location: San Francisco, California
Client: The Fisher Family
Source Of Wealth: The Gap (clothing store)Donald Fisher (1928 - 2009) and his wife Doris F. Fisher are the founders of The GAP clothing store. Two of the Fisher’s three children are on the company’s board. The other, John Fisher, is the president of Pisces, Inc. and owns a majority stake at several sports teams in California.
Location: Baltimore, Maryland
Client: The Blaustein Family
Source Of Wealth: Oil & Gas, Marine Transportation
The Blaustein family founded Amoco Oil in 1910, which was sold to BP in 1998. Atapco represent the financial interests of Blaustein's heirs and is one of the three companies that the Blaustein family operates its businesses through. Over the years, Atapco has expanded into various sectors of business, including crude oil and natural gas, marine transportation, real estate and others.
Location: New York, New York
Client: Jarl Mohn Family
Source Of Wealth: Broadcast News
Jarl Mohn is the president and CEO of National Public Radio (NPR). He has held senior leadership roles at MTV, VH1 and CNET. He is also an investor in several media companies.
15. Andell Holdings
Location: Los Angeles, California
Client: The Bronfman Family
Source Of Wealth: The Seagram Company
Andell was named after Andrew and Ellen Bronfman Hauptman, the daughter of Canadian business tycoon Charles Bronfman. Ellen Bronfman Hauptman and her husband Andrew Hauptman founded Andell Holdings to manage assets that grew out of the Bronfman family’s controlling position of The Seagram Co., the largest distiller of alcoholic beverages in the world.
Location: Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
Client: The Asplundh Family
Source Of Wealth: Line Clearance Service
The Asplundh family is the owner of tree trimming firm Asplundh Tree Expert in Willow Grove, Pennsylvania, which had revenue of $3.5 billion in fiscal year 2014. The company was founded in 1928 by three Asplundh brothers, descents of a Swedish immigrant.
Location: Kirkland, Washington
Client: Bill Gates Family
Source Of Wealth: Microsoft
BMGI is the family office that manages the fortune of Bill Gates and his wife Melinda Gates. It is formerly known as Bill Gates Investments and changed its name in 2015 to include Melinda Gates’ name in the acronym. BMGI manages Bill Gates’ personal wealth of $82 billion (as of 2014) through Cascade Investment and the $42 billion endowment of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (as of 2014).
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Client: Hillman Company
Source Of Wealth: Asset Management (Primarily Private Equity)
The Hillman Company manages the assets of the Hillman family and their philanthropic arm, Hillman Family Foundations. The portfolio invests heavily in private equity. The Hillman family’s wealth started from a coal and coke brokerage in the early 1900s. It transitioned into a more diverse range of businesses in the 1960s and later focused on private equity investing.
11. Merrimac Corp.
Location: Stamford, Connecticut
Source Of Wealth: Asset Management (Primarily Hedge Funds)
Merrimac Corp. is a private investment firm based in Stamford, Connecticut. Its CEO is Louis Arovas.
10. Fremont Group
Location: San Francisco, California
Client: Warren Bechtel Family
Source Of Wealth: Engineering, Construction
Fremont Group was formerly known as Bechtel Investments. Warren Bechtel (1872 – 1933) founded Bechtel Corporation, one of the world's largest engineering and construction services firms. The Bechtel family still owns and operates the company today. Warren Bechtel’s great-grandson Riley P. Bechtel is the company’s CEO and one of the richest men in the United States. He also sits on the board of trustees of Fremont Group, which currently operates in hedge funds, real estate and venture capital.
Location: New York, New York
Client: Randy Lerner Family
Source Of Wealth: Equity Investment
Brooklyn NY Holdings (BNYH) manages the wealth of the Lerner Family. It has a portfolio of $4 billion with investments in public market equity and fixed income portfolios, alternative investments, real estate and private equity. The Lerner Family’s wealth came from founding and investing in financial companies, including Securities Advisors, Inc. and MBNA Corporation, which was sold to Bank of America in 2006. The most well-known family member, Randy Lerner, owns part of several sports teams, including the Cleveland Browns and Aston Villa.
08. RF Capital
Location: Sydney, Australia
Client: Andrew Roberts Family
Source Of Wealth: Construction
RF Capital is the family office headed by Australian businessman Andrew Roberts. Andrew Roberts’ father, John Roberts, founded the construction company Multiplex in 1962. The company expanded internationally from Australia and was sold to Brookfield Asset Management in 2007. Andrew Roberts and his siblings inherited their father’s wealth after he died. The family holds investments in commercial property, public equities and private equity.
Location: Munich, Germany
Client: The Strascheg Family
Source Of Wealth: Venture capital investment
Extorel is a team of private equity and asset management specialists that advise the Strascheg family in all investment decisions. The portfolio has a focus on venture and growth capital. The founding partner of Extorel, Falk F. Strascheg, is one of the most successful venture capitalists in Germany and Europe. He founded Technologie Holding in 1987, a venture capital firm that funded numerous innovative growth companies in German-speaking countries. Technologie Holding was sold to 3i Group Plc. in 2000.
06. Andosins Capital
Client: Cerqueda Donadeu Family
Source Of Wealth: Banking
Andosins Capital is a family office owned by the Cerqueda Donadeu family that manages the family’s investments in the financial, industrial and real estate sectors. Manuel Cerqueda, a former managing director at Commercial and Agricultural Bank of Andorra, acquired a majority of stake of the Bank in 1947, making it the first management buyout in Andorra.
Location: Memphis, Tennessee
Client: The Dobbs Family
Source Of Wealth: Automobiles
Dobbs Management Service is the family office of the John Hull Dobbs Family. The Dobbs family has been investors in various businesses since 1920. John Hull Dobbs’ father, James K. Dobbs, was a serial entrepreneur who had success in many different industries, including automobile dealerships (primarily Ford) and restaurant and airline catering (Dobbs Houses, Inc.). The second generation of the Dobbs family continued growing the wealth through business acquisitions. Edward Dobbs, a third-generation family member, is a full-time employee at Dobbs Management Service.
Location: Houston, Texas
Client: Thomas H. Friedkin Family
Source Of Wealth: Automobiles
Thomas H. Friedkin founded Gulf States Toyota Distributors, the world’s second largest (out of two) franchised distributor of Toyota vehicles. It is the distributor of Toyota automobiles in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma. Thomas Friedkin’s son Dan Friedkin is the current owner and CEO.
03. Tonkawa, Inc.
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Client: Curtis L. Carlson Family
Source Of Wealth: Hospitality
Tonkawa, Inc. handles the financial affairs for the Curtis L. Carlson Family. Curtis L. Carlson (1914 - 1999) founded Carlson, a global family of travel and hospitality companies including familiar brands like T.G.I. Friday’s restaurants and Radisson Hotels & Resorts. The company diversified its business into real estate investment in the 1950s and 1960s.
Location: Wien, Austria
Client: The Flick Family
Source Of Wealth: Industrial Holdings
The Flick family is a German industrial empire with holdings in companies involved in coal, steel and a minority holdings in Daimler AG. The founding member, Friedrich Karl Flick (1927 – 2006), was a German-Austrian billionaire. He established a major industrial conglomerate during the Weimar Republic, an unofficial designation for the German state between 1919 and 1933.
01. Golden Alpha
Client: The Sohmen Family
Source Of Wealth: Oil & Gas
Golden Alpha represents the Sohmen family and acts as the investment team for part of the family’s investment activities. Its investment mandate covers private and public investments both direct and through external fund managers.
The Sohmen family’s operating business is the BW Group, a leading global maritime group involved in oil and gas transportation, floating gas infrastructure, environmental technologies and deepwater production.
The group was founded by Y.K. Pao in Hong Kong in 1955 as World-Wide Shipping and was rebranded as BW following the acquisition of Norway’s largest shipping company, Bergesen, in 2003. Golden Alpha was the name given to the first ship purchased by Y.K. Pao.