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Family office c-suite salaries up but few women at the top-tier

By James Beech

Salaries for top executives at family offices jumped 10% in the past year but women are still unrepresented in C-suites, according to the new Global Family Office Report 2017.

Family offices recovered from a year of low investment returns, which averaged 0.3% in 2015, to climb to 7% in 2016, the report by Campden Wealth, in partnership with UBS, said.

C-suite salaries have been on the rise, driven by these investment gains and greater competition among family offices for talent.

“Globally speaking, among multi-year participants, chief executives and chief operating officers have enjoyed the highest salary increases, up circa 10% each,” the report said.

“CEOs' average salary rose from $334,000 to $367,000, while COOs' average salary rose from $195,000 to $215,000. Meanwhile, CIOs' average salary climbed 7.7% from $292,700 to $314,000, and CFOs' jumped 6.8% from $199,000 to $213,000 over the year.”

North American chief executives earned the highest base salaries, an average of $411,000 per year. They also receive the highest proportionate bonuses, which average 53.5% of their base salary and bring their total average annual compensation to $631,000.

European salaries are the second highest, with chief executives making an average base salary of $334,000 and an average bonus of 48.7%, bringing their total annual compensation to $497,000.

The notable rise in salaries corresponded with the third Family Office Compensation Benchmark Report released by Agreus in July this year. The report found many chief executives/managing directors (31%) and chief information officers (26%) were on average paid more than £300,001 ($397,000). The figure was also up markedly, from between £150,001 ($199,000) to £200,000 ($265,000) from the previous year's report.

The Global Family Office Report found there was little room at the top for women, with men continuing to dominate the highest positions. Only 7.7% of the family offices surveyed said they had female chief executives. Women were more likely to hold other C-suite roles, with 37.9% serving as chief financial officers, 37.5% as chief operating officers and 13.2% as chief investment officers.

Women in corporate leadership significantly increase profitability, the Peterson Institute for International Economics reported in 2016 after surveying 21,980 publicly traded companies in 91 countries. The US think-tank said a company with 30% female leadership could expect to add up to six percentage points to its net margin compared to with a similar business with no female leaders.

Campden Wealth is doing its part to support female entrepreneurs in the ultra-wealthy family business community by launching its new research titled Leading Ladies of Switzerland—Family, Business, and Beyond at a networking evening in Zurich this week. Campden Wealth is also organising its inaugural Women of Wealth workshop, where prolific female speakers will discuss gender, legacy, and leadership in London on 23 November.

“Merely one in 10 CEO and CIO roles are held by women, along with roughly a third of COO and CFO roles, suggesting that this is a potential area for growth among females,” the Global Family Office Report said.

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