Launch of the WMI Global-Asia Family Office


In partnership with the family office community and with the support of EDB and MAS, WMI’s new family office network will strengthen Singapore’s position as a Global-Asia Family Office Hub


Singapore, Wednesday, 20 October 2021 – Today, the Wealth Management Institute (WMI) announced the launch of the Global-Asia Family Office Circle (GFO Circle). The GFO Circle is a new network aimed at supporting the growth of family offices in Singapore, in partnership with the family office community and supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). The GFO Circle will be a platform for industry players to collaborate, share best practices and build new capabilities. Collectively, this will support the development of a vibrant family office sector and strengthen Singapore’s position as a global family office hub in Asia.


The family office industry has been growing rapidly. From 2019, the number of family offices in Singapore has doubled to approximately 400 as at end-2020. The GFO Circle aims to build on this momentum to strengthen links across the different players in the family office community. These include family office principals, professionals and advisors. This will also galvanise the community towards meaningful causes such as philanthropy, sustainable finance and supporting Singaporean and regional entrepreneurship.


Beyond community building, the GFO Circle will also emphasise capability development to support a stronger industry talent pipeline with deeper levels of expertise. WMI will provide education programmes, research and thought leadership forums. These will build on WMI’s existing suite of programmes, covering subject areas such as trusts, governance and family office leadership.


To help build investment capabilities in the sector, WMI will launch new programmes on global investment strategies and market principles, in partnership with Dalio Philanthropies and with contributions from global investors including GIC and Temasek. To help guide a more purposeful wealth allocation, WMI will be collaborating with the Gates Foundation on a new Philanthropy Masterclass, and with Adjunct Professor Bill Burnett from the Stanford Design Programme on a programme on Purposeful Wealth Design. The GFO Circle will also offer programmes on sustainable investing and impact investing. An indicative list of programmes is at Annex.


Ms Foo Mee Har, CEO of WMI, said: “The ultimate goal of the GFO Circle is to be a trusted environment for the family office community to come together, share knowledge and gain access to domain leaders, changemakers, experts and distinguished global thought leaders. The rapidly growing family office segment is creating excellent jobs and new career pathways for Singaporeans in new family office set-ups as well as in sectors such as wealth management, asset management, tax, accountancy, legal and trust services.  We saw strong demand for training from the finance and professional services sectors. In the last 12 months, there were over 500 enrolments in WMI’s family office and trusts certification programmes. We are gearing up to double our scale to reach 3,000 enrolments over the next three years across Masterclasses, certification programmes and overseas learning journeys.”


Ms Jillian Lim, Executive Vice President, Family Office Development Team, EDB, said: “Family offices play an important role in Singapore’s economic growth, by bringing patient capital, business expertise and networks which help spur entrepreneurship, innovation and philanthropy here. We’re glad to see good initiative from the family offices and industry players to grow linkages and elevate access to opportunities in Singapore and in the region. The GFO Circle will strengthen Singapore’s position as a hub for family offices by bringing global and Asian family offices together to exchange insights, explore new investment and philanthropic opportunities from Singapore.”


Ms Thong Leng Yeng, Executive Director and Head of the Financial Centre Development Department, MAS, said “The GFO Circle is a one-of-a-kind public-private partnership, bringing the family office industry in Singapore together and creating ‘safe spaces’ for members to interact with their peers. I am glad that the GFO Circle will be supporting family offices development as a force for good in Singapore, contributing to greater efforts in entrepreneurship, sustainable investments and philanthropy. These are areas that family offices have already been actively involved in which have seen even greater interest in recent times.”


Mr Kwee Ker Fong, Principal, Kwee Family Office, said “I am glad to see WMI and the GFO Circle promoting deeper interactions among the different players in Family Office community. Speaking from the perspective of a family office, the GFO Circle addresses a real need for community and capability building in the sector. I gained a lot from the Leading Asian Families Programme at WMI, which provided practical insights and thoughtful relationship-building with the other participants. I am confident that WMI and the GFO Circle are well placed to lead this effort. I look forward to participating in and contributing towards the upcoming programmes.”