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Singapore launches new family office network for business families and professionals

  • Wednesday, October 20, 2021, 8:00 am
  • ACROFAN=PRNewswire

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, Oct. 20, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- 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."

Annex: Selected List of Upcoming Programmes under the GFO Circle


Global Giving, Asian Innovation - 11 November 2021 (Virtual)  
This Masterclass will help participants better understand key trends in philanthropy. Global and local philanthropy leaders will share how advisors can help clients achieve their philanthropic goals and objectives, and introduce participants to emerging models, approaches, and tools. This Masterclass will be led by Assistant Professor Dien Yuen, WMI Lead Faculty for Philanthropy, with guest speakers from the Gates Foundation, the Community Foundation of Singapore and UBS.

Purposeful Wealth Design – End November / Early December 2021
This Masterclass will help participants understand the role of Design in creating a life that is meaningful and fulfilling, and its implication for designing a purposeful long-term wealth portfolio that reflects a client's values and causes. The Masterclass will be led by Adjunct Professor Bill Burnett from the Stanford Design Programme and the newly formed Design Life Institute of Singapore.

Applied ESG for Family Offices - December 2021
This Masterclass will cover the growing role of ESG and sustainable investing will play in the future, and how these trends will impact investing for family offices. It aims to provide more clarity on what could be seen as a complex ESG landscape.

Certification Programmes

Certificate for Family Office Advisors - Foundation
This is the first of a two-part training Certification Programme for Family Office Advisors. Drawing on real-world case studies, participants will develop an overall understanding of the types of family offices, their different functions, the legal and fiscal context in which they operate, as well as the means and tools that can help protect wealth for the long term. A significant part of the programme will help participants understand the human context of wealth owners: individuals, entrepreneurs and families. This is a pre-requisite for the Certificate for Family Office Advisors-Advanced programme.

Certificate for Family Office Advisors - Advanced
Taking participants beyond the fundamentals of Family Offices, this advanced level programme delves deeper by introducing participants to the interests and risk considerations of the Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) families of today. The programme explores the psychology and motivations of the affluent of today. It uncovers an array of available opportunities for clients who wish to reflect their values for society and the environment in their wealth decisions. This includes the fast-emerging area of impact investing. Participants will also learn about the different types of investments with a particular focus on specialty investments that make family offices a different category of investors.

About The GFO Circle

The Global-Asia Family Office Circle (GFO Circle) is a network platform that aims to be the leading voice and umbrella association for family offices in Singapore and Asia. It responds to a real and growing need for community building, collaboration and learning in the family office sector. By bringing together a community of family office principals, professionals and service partners, the GFO Circle will be a trusted environment for networking and knowledge sharing. 

The GFO Circle will offer unparalleled access to cutting-edge insights from a wide range of sectors. Members will have access to curated networking events, cutting-edge education programmes, research and thought leadership, as well as peer learning and cross-sector collaboration opportunities.

The GFO Circle leverages on the deep expertise in wealth and asset management education within the Wealth Management Institute (WMI), as well as the partnership with the family office community across family principals, family office professionals and family advisors across the banking, asset management, MFO, trust services, legal, tax, accounting and IFA sectors. The GFO Circle is also supported by the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS). For more information, visit

About WMI

Established in 2003, the Wealth Management Institute (WMI) is Asia's Centre of Excellence for wealth and asset management education and research. Founded by Temasek and GIC, WMI is driven by the vision to catalyse Singapore's growth ambition to become a leading international wealth and asset management centre. We believe that advancing knowledge and capabilities can have a sustainable impact on value creation at an individual, institutional and national level.

WMI is appointed as Singapore's Lead Training Provider for Private Banking by the Institute of Banking and Finance Singapore ("IBF") and supported by the Monetary Authority of Singapore ("MAS"). WMI provides a comprehensive suite of practiced-based programmes from IBF accredited certification programmes, Graduate Diploma to Master of Science in Asset and Wealth Management in collaboration with Nanyang Technological University. In 2020, WMI enrolled 17,000 finance professionals from 150 leading financial institutions across 60 programmes. For more information, visit

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