Study on the approach of family offices to participate in unlisted companies.

  • Blättchen & Partner has investigated the approach of Family Offices in its participation in unlisted companies.
  • Family offices often do not pursue recognizable participation strategies.
  • Sufficient human resources, which are qualified in the management of shareholdings, are often lacking
  • Information from accounting and a seat on the Supervisory Board are the main sources of information in equity management.

Munich | Zurich, Nov 26, 2015. For a long time, the focus of family office investments in real estate and listed securities. Very few family offices participated in unlisted companies. For several years now, more and more family offices have been turning to this asset class and are developing into another equity pillar, especially for medium-sized companies.

This study looks at what family offices can or must do better when participating in unlisted companies. Dr. Konrad Bösl, CEO of Blättchen & Partner, explains: “From the multi-year cooperation with a number of family offices, we have repeatedly noticed potential for improvement in the fundamental approach to participation in companies.” The study reviews and documents the potential for improvement based on 74 family offices. Gebhard Meier, Senior Consultant and co-author of the study, states: “A large number of family offices have to fundamentally reorient their approach to corporate shareholdings. The study shows that the lack of a consistent investment strategy often leads to a heterogeneous investment portfolio, which can no longer be actively accompanied and controlled by the too few and overburdened employees. As a result, there is a risk that family offices may suffer (significant) losses from corporate holdings or that the moderate asset build-up they want will not be achieved.”


The number of family offices has increased significantly in recent years and at the same time the investment behavior has changed. Previously, the investment focus was almost exclusively on real estate, listed assets and precious metals, but for several years now family offices have increasingly become involved in unlisted companies. In doing so, they are adding another asset class to their asset diversification and are increasingly becoming an important pillar of equity, especially for medium-sized companies.
In the event that medium-sized companies want or need to strengthen their equity base, family offices are often considered the preferred external investor. The reasons are manifold.

Family Offices

  • are long-term investors
  • in many cases, minority holdings
  • do not in principle influence the operating business of the
  • usually have an entrepreneurial background
  • stand with a steady hand to the company even in difficult situations.
    Participation in unlisted companies requires a family office to take a different approach and structures from what was necessary for existing investments. From working with a variety of family offices, we have found that the incorporation of corporate shareholdings in family offices is prepared and implemented in very different ways.

Study for download