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Australian family offices buying into businesses and property, says new EY head

By Michael Finnigan

Australian family offices are investing in business, property and private equity, says the new head of Ernst & Young's Oceania family office division.

They are also hedging globally as part of a generational investment strategy, says Richard Boyce.

The Australian native says the region's family office market is currently small, but well connected, and dominated by a few advisory firms, private banks and asset managers.

Boyce's appointment to EY was announced this week.

Oceania private client services leader at EY Ian Burgess says Australia currently has three distinct demographics of wealth; first created during the 1800s gold-rush era and later during post-war immigration. The third demographic was created over the last 20 years.

According to this year's Global Family Office report, family offices in Asia Pacific have been outperformed by their counterparts in North America and Europe, despite a high number of offices perusing growth strategies.

Further findings suggest that succession and governance stand as critical challenges for the evolution of family offices in Asia Pacific and advisor relationships are critical for preparing for succession.

The region's wealthiest families include the Packers, whose fortune was made in media, the Rineharts, a mining family, and the Myers, behind the eponymous department store.

Boyce is a fifth gen of the Boyce Family Office, which built its fortune in publishing, but has since diversified into law and accounting, as well as other entrepreneurial ventures, such as retail and e-commerce.

“The Boyce family started its first business in Australia 150 years ago this year,” Boyce explains. “Since that time, each generation has grown and expanded Boyce enterprises. We formed a single family office 18 months ago to focus management and to bring leading practices and support to the wider family.”

Boyce formerly worked in the family's chartered accounting firm, where he learnt how the financial services industry operates and how to best manage leading families. He has 24 years' experience serving high net worth individuals and families.

Boyce says that Australian family offices are currently learning from global best practice, and networking with each other to secure investments and support.

Boyce says EY's services include global next-generation development and entrepreneurship support.

“Each generation needs this kind of support to maintain and grow their family wealth, not only financially but in terms of human capital as well.”

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