The family office landscape in North America

Family offices continue to grow and seek innovative ways to navigate an uncertain environment. The 2022 North America family office report explores this growth, focusing on 179 family offices across Canada and the United States.

Learn more about trends impacting family offices in North America, including technology, governance, sustainability, succession planning and cybersecurity insights.

Download the full report

The family office mindset and trends

The North American family office landscape continues to grow, with many family offices seizing opportunities and many families contemplating setting up their own. In addition, family offices have shifted their mindset in 2022.
.wheel-slice{fill:transparent;stroke:#fff;stroke-width:1.5px;transition:.4s ease-in-out}.wheel-slice-text{font-weight:700;font-size:.625rem;text-transform:uppercase;transition:.4s ease-in-out}.wheel-text{fill:#fff;text-anchor:middle}.wheel-group{cursor:pointer}.wheel-group:focus:not(:focus-visible){outline:0}.wheel-group:hover .wheel-slice{fill:#c3e2fa} .wheel-slice{fill:#fff} .wheel-slice-text,.wheel-group:hover .wheel-slice-text{fill:#002750}.wheel-content{top:0;padding:20%}.wheel-wrap{transform-origin:8.375rem 8.375rem;transition:.7s ease-in-out}.wheel-svg{width:25.5rem;height:25.5rem}@media (max-width:991px){.wheel-svg{max-width:19.875rem;width:100%;height:19.875rem}}.rbc-circle-dash-stroke-1{display:none}
Key themes wheel {{ wheelSliceContent[i].text }}
vueData['wheelSlices'] = 5; vueData['wheelSliceContent'] = [ { id: 'tabMeet', text: 'Private equity' }, { id: 'tabDiscover', text: 'Sustainable investing' }, { id: 'tabPlan', text: 'Tech investments' }, { id: 'tabImplement', text: 'Succession planning' }, { id: 'tabCommunicate', text: 'Risk management' } ];

Investment into equities has remained stagnant in North America amid a turbulent stock market.

Instead, family offices are taking larger positions in private equity, increasing from 22 percent in 2021 to 27 percent in 2022.

The trend is expected to continue to rise to 46 percent in 2023.

Thirty-seven percent of family offices in North America now engage in sustainable investing, up slightly from 34 percent in 2021 and 26 percent in 2019.

Despite this increase, North American family offices are behind their counterparts in Europe (66 percent) and Asia-Pacific (42 percent).

When it comes to the average North American family office portfolio, sustainable investing accounts for 20 percent, but this is expected to rise to 31 percent within five years (compared to 38 percent globally).

Currently, 71 percent of family offices invest in healthcare tech and 39 percent plan on increasing their investment in this sector in the year ahead.

Sixty-two percent of family offices invest in biotech, making it the second most popular technology investment. This is closely followed by fintech (59 percent), digital technology (52 percent) and green tech (50 percent).

Like healthcare, artificial intelligence (40 percent), green tech (35 percent) and biotech (34 percent) are also expected to see a rise in family office portfolio allocations in 2023.

Globally, a significant generational wealth transfer is underway, with trillions in family wealth—including enterprises—transitioning to heirs. As a result, the need for formal succession plans hasn’t been greater. Fifty-four percent of North American families have a succession plan in place (compared to 61 percent globally). This is up slightly from 50 percent in 2021.

In the next 10 years, 27 percent of the next generation are expected to assume control of the family enterprise, and 36 percent are expected to take control in 11+ years.

Despite these numbers, preparing the next generation continues to be an opportunity, as just 39 percent of respondents feel the next generation is prepared for succession—significantly lower than the global average of 61 percent.

Surprisingly, just 33 percent of family offices have a succession plan in place for their senior executives.

When it comes to family office governance priorities over the next 1–2 years, 78 percent of respondents say they’re focused on risk management.

Cyberattacks continue to be on the rise, and 37 percent of family offices experienced at least one attack in 2022, up from 28 percent in 2021. Despite the increased risk, just 32 percent of family offices lack a cyber security plan in place. However, 75 percent of those without a plan are in the process of getting one.

Review the trends that impacted North American family offices over the last few years.

We want to talk about your family strategy.

© Royal Bank of Canada 2022. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are property of their respective owner(s) and are used under licence, if applicable. The material herein is for informational purposes only and is not directed at, nor intended for distribution to or use by, any person or entity in any country where such distribution or use would be contrary to law or regulation or which would subject Royal Bank of Canada or its subsidiaries or constituent business units to any licensing or registration requirement within such country. This is not intended to be either a specific offer by any Royal Bank of Canada entity to sell or provide, or a specific invitation to apply for, any particular financial account, product or service. Royal Bank of Canada does not offer accounts, products or services in jurisdictions where it is not permitted to do so, and therefore is not available in all countries or markets. The information contained herein is general in nature and is not intended, and should not be construed, as professional advice or opinion provided to the user, nor as a recommendation of any particular approach. This document does not purport to be a complete statement of the approaches or steps that may be appropriate for the user, does not take into account the user’s specific investment objectives or risk tolerance and is not intended to be an invitation to effect a securities transaction or to otherwise participate in any investment service. The text of this document was originally written in English. Translations to languages other than English are provided as a convenience to our users. Royal Bank of Canada disclaims any responsibility for translation inaccuracies. The information provided herein is on an as-is basis. Royal Bank of Canada disclaims any and all warranties of any kind concerning any information provided in this report.

Investment and insurance products offered through RBC Wealth Management are not insured by the FDIC or any other federal government agency, are not deposits or other obligations of, or guaranteed by, a bank or any bank affiliate, and are subject to investment risks, including possible loss of the principal amount invested.