Family Offices Evolve, Championing ESG and Tech for Sustainable Wealth: PwC India Report

Mumbai, 04th July 2024: PwC India’s latest report titled, “Creating Holistic Value for Family Businesses,” traces its evolution, significant trends and challenges faced by Family Offices (FO) in India. The report sheds light on how FOs have evolved from wealth preservation units to sophisticated entities driving impactful and responsible investing. FOs are diversifying their portfolios, accessing global opportunities, and embracing a global citizenship mindset, a trend that reflects the dynamism and adaptability of their wealth management strategies in response to the evolving economic landscapes.

Falguni Shah, Partner and Leader, Entrepreneurial and Private Business, PwC India commented, “The rising influence of Family Offices highlights the evolving wealth management and financial advisory landscape in India. Over recent years, family offices have secured an integral spot in India’s financial ecosystem, offering specialised services tailored to the unique needs of high-net-worth individuals and business families. Factors such as the growing ultra-high-net-worth population, a focus on generational wealth transfer, global asset diversification, and the rise of impact investing have fuelled their growth. Family offices are uniquely positioned to address these demands. Moving forward, adapting to the evolving investment landscape and hiring the right professionals will be crucial for their continued success.”

The report highlights five perceptible trends shaping the future of family offices in India – how family offices are transforming into holistic service providers; how they are increasingly investing in startups, diversifying portfolios, and seeking higher returns; how adopting new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, and data analytics is gaining traction among family offices; how wealthy families are expanding their investment horizons beyond domestic markets; and how responsible investing is becoming a key priority for family offices.

Jayant Kumaar, Partner, Deals and Family Office Leader, PwC India, commented, “Family offices in India are transforming wealth management by embracing technology, global diversification, and ESG principles. Their evolution from wealth preservation to impactful investing is crucial for sustainable growth and positive societal impact. Addressing trust, succession planning, and risk management will be key to their success.”

Amidst these evolving trends, family offices face several challenges. Building trust within family members and the family office is crucial but complex due to varying mindsets and interests. “Effective succession planning and robust governance structures are often lacking, hindering smooth wealth transfer, and creating conflicts. Additionally, defining key performance indicators (KPIs) is essential for measuring performance and aligning priorities with business goals,” adds Shah.

Family offices also face risks such as cybersecurity threats, regulatory compliance, and privacy concerns – making a robust risk management framework an imperative today. Talent acquisition and retention pose another significant challenge, requiring family offices to offer competitive salaries, work flexibility, and a compelling value proposition to attract skilled professionals.

Family offices require a holistic approach, binding family members with a common purpose and values. Six core qualities are essential: legacy preservation, unity and purpose, wealth stewardship, relationship building, adaptability and innovation, and talent development.

Even as family offices in India are on a transformative path, driven by a confluence of innovation and tradition, they still have a long way to go. “With an ever-changing regulatory environment, and with new compliance requirements and tax structures emerging across jurisdictions, the adaptability of family offices in addressing these complexities through innovation and technological solutions will be key to their remaining relevant and effective in their role as custodians of generational wealth and beacons of trust,” concludes Kumaar.

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