September 21, 2021

Family Office Survey 2021

September 21, 2021
Citi Private Capital Group

The Family Office Survey 2021 was conducted as part of the Private Bank’s 2021 Family Office Leadership Program, held from 7 to 10 June 2021. While the program ran during the said week, polling for the survey was conducted online over a longer period from 25 May to 12 June 2021.

Survey highlights

The survey included over 20 questions aimed at gauging investment sentiment and portfolio actions of clients anonymously in the wake of macroeconomic headwinds created by the COVID-19 global pandemic and the subsequent recovery. It drew responses from nearly 200 participants. Of the stated number of respondents, around 80% were those with family offices while the remaining were ultra-high net worth individuals who do not have a family office.

Geographically speaking, of the majority of family office respondents, the survey responses from North America accounted for 42% of the total sample pool. The percentage of respondents from Europe, Middle East and Africa came in at 22% of the sample pool, followed by Latin America with 21% and Asia Pacific with 15%.


We asked respondents about their outlook for the global economy and financial markets, as well as what they are doing with their portfolios.

Holistically speaking, the findings have been lent further weight by this diverse geographical spread of respondents that resonates with the Private Bank’s overall global client base. In total, the respondents hailed from over 100 different countries.

Via our wide-ranging survey questionnaire, we asked the respondents about their outlook for the global economy and financial markets, as well as what they are doing with the portfolios that they oversee, the opportunities and risks ahead, and the actions they expect to take. The responses we received make for fascinating reading.

Nearly 30% indicated inflation as their utmost concern. There was gradual but less than expected interest in sustainable investing and a mix of interest and skepticism in crypto.

We find four predominant themes worth mentioning following a close review of the responses:
  • Concern on rising Inflation topped the list of respondents’ worries over the next 12 months, with nearly 30% indicating that to be their utmost concern in the current climate.
  • High cash levels in the face of a low-yield environment were also noted, with 32% of family office respondents holding over 20% in cash and highly liquid assets.
  • Continued growth in portfolio allocation to direct private investment opportunities was observed with 44% of family offices allocating over 25% of their portfolio.
  • A remarkable comeback in portfolio values year over year in a period of high degree of uncertainty with over half reporting an increase greater than 10% a far cry from last year where only 3% reported similar gains.

Other notable observations made by us also include:

  • Gradual but less than expected interest in sustainable investing and portfolio alignment with ESG or ‘Environmental, Social and Governance’ principles
  • An expected mix of interest coupled a high degree of skepticism in crypto assets

The findings have been elaborated upon by Stephen Campbell, Chairman, and James Holder, Global Head, of Citi Private Capital Group. Their observations are accompanied by analysis and commentary from our Chief Investment Officer David Bailin and Chief Investment Strategist Steven Wieting.

We hope this year’s survey report proves to be an insightful read. As ever, we welcome your feedback.