United Kingdom

The United Kingdom, comprising England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, is a stable and innovative nation with a rich cultural heritage. Its capital, London, is a prime location for family offices. Its economic and political stability, diverse services, and high quality of life make it an ideal location for wealth management and investments.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Evaluation categories

  • Tax regulations & incentives
  • Legal & regulatory structures
  • Economy & political climate
  • Services & talent access
  • Culture & lifestyle considerations
  • Resources

    Key numbers

    FAQ

    United Kingdom
    Updated on June 13, 2024

    Introduction

    Stable, innovative and culturally rich

     

    The United Kingdom (UK), made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, is an island nation situated in the northwest region of Europe. England – the birthplace of Shakespeare and The Beatles – is home to the capital, London, a globally influential centre of finance and culture. England is also the site of Neolithic Stonehenge, Bath’s Roman spa and centuries-old universities at Oxford and Cambridge.

     

    The UK is renowned for its stability, transparency, and innovation. It offers a unique blend of traditional values and cutting-edge business practices, making it an attractive destination for family offices. With a rich history of financial services and a commitment to technological advancement, the UK provides a dynamic environment for wealth management and investment.

    Notable: London a prime location

    In the UK, London has become a prime location for family offices. This is due to its wide variety of financial services and luxury lifestyle options that cater to the needs of the ultra-wealthy from around the worldAdditionally, London offers a more appealing tax system and regulatory environment compared to New York, its main competitor.

    kate bright
    Secure Lifestyle Advisor
    Kate Bright

    United Kingdom

    Kyle Zeno Macdonald
    Service Design
    Kyle Zeno Macdonald

    United Kingdom

    Kjartan Rist
    Venture Capital Investing
    Kjartan Rist

    United Kingdom

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    Evaluation categories

    1. Tax regulations & incentives

    Family offices in the UK are subject to several tax laws and incentives. Inheritance Tax (IHT) is a significant consideration, but Business Property Relief (BPR) and Family Investment Companies (FICs) can reduce the value of business assets for IHT purposes. In addition, family offices are subject to income and corporate taxes. However, there are various incentives and tax relief schemes, such as the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) and Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs), to encourage investment in UK businesses. Additionally, the UK has a well-established network of Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) with other countries, which can help minimise international tax laws' impact on family offices.

    Inheritance Tax (IHT), also known as estate tax in the UK, is a tax on the estate of someone who has passed away. The standard IHT rate is 40% on the portion of an estate exceeding £325,000. Certain assets and gifts are exempt from IHT, and there are reliefs available to reduce the taxable value of qualifying assets.

     

    Gifts made within seven years before death may still be subject to IHT, and some gifts made during a person’s lifetime may also be subject to IHT. IHT is paid by the estate before the assets are distributed to the beneficiaries, and there are various strategies to mitigate IHT. It’s important to stay updated with the latest IHT rules and seek professional advice to ensure compliance with tax laws.

    Family offices are also subject to CGT on relevant transactions. The standard rate of CGT for individuals is 20% for most assets and 10% for gains that qualify for Entrepreneurs’ Relief. The Annual Exempt Amount (AEA) for the 2023/24 tax year is £12,300.

     

    CGT is generally due in the tax year that the gain is made, and there are various reliefs and allowances available to reduce the amount of CGT payable. CGT is reported and paid as part of the self-assessment tax return process, and it’s important to keep accurate records of all transactions and gains to ensure compliance with tax laws.

    Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) offer tax incentives for investing in qualifying early-stage and growth-focused businesses. Family offices can benefit from income tax relief, capital gains tax exemption, and other reliefs when investing in eligible companies.

     

    Venture Capital Trusts (VCTs) are investment vehicles listed on the London Stock Exchange that invest in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Investing in VCTs can provide income tax relief of up to 30% on investments, as well as exemptions from tax on dividends and capital gains.

     

    Infrastructure Investment: The UK offers various incentives and schemes to encourage investment in infrastructure projects, such as renewable energy, transportation, and housing. Family offices investing in these projects can benefit from stable returns and potential tax incentives.

    2. Legal & regulatory structures

    The UK has a robust legal and regulatory framework, providing protection and recourse for investors. Its legal system is based on common law principles, offering familiarity and reliability for family offices seeking to establish a presence in the country. Managing wealth for wealthy families in the UK requires a careful consideration of legal and regulatory structures that can provide flexibility in governance, tax efficiency, and asset protection. There are several options available, including Single and Multi-Family Offices, Private Trust Companies, Family Investment Companies, Limited Liability Partnerships, and Offshore structures. Each option offers unique benefits, and the choice depends on the family's goals and needs. However, regulatory compliance is crucial, and it is essential to consult with legal, tax, and financial professionals to ensure adherence to financial services regulations, anti-money laundering rules, and tax laws. There are several legal and regulatory structures available for family offices to operate and flourish. Below are some common structures:

    An SFO is a private company established to manage the wealth and affairs of a single wealthy family. It provides tailored financial and investment services, including wealth management, tax planning, and philanthropic activities. SFOs offer complete control and customisation but can be costly to set up and maintain.

     

    An MFO serves multiple wealthy families, pooling their resources to achieve economies of scale. MFOs offer a range of services similar to SFOs but are shared among several families. This structure can provide cost savings and access to specialised expertise.

    A PTC is a private company established to act as a trustee for one or more family trusts. It allows families to retain control over their trust structures while benefiting from the flexibility and confidentiality of a corporate trustee. PTCs are often used by families with complex trust arrangements.

    An FIC is a private limited company established to hold and manage family assets, such as investments, property, and businesses. It offers tax advantages, asset protection, and flexibility in wealth transfer. FICs are governed by company law and can be customized to meet the family’s needs.

    An LLP is a partnership where the partners have limited liability, meaning they are not personally liable for the debts of the partnership. LLPs are often used for professional services and can be structured to accommodate multiple family members or external investors.

    3. Economic & political climate

    The UK's stable economic and political climate offers family offices a secure environment for wealth management and investment. With a diversified economy and strong financial services sector, the UK provides opportunities for growth and wealth preservation. Its business-friendly environment, competitive tax regime, and access to global markets make it an attractive location for family offices seeking to establish a base. Additionally, the UK's political stability and respect for property rights provide a foundation for long-term planning and investment. Overall, the UK's economic and political stability, coupled with its tax advantages and quality of life, make it an appealing destination for family offices looking to thrive.

    The UK has a diversified and resilient economy, with a strong financial services sector, advanced manufacturing industries, and a thriving technology sector. This stability provides a favourable environment for wealth creation and investment growth, which can benefit family offices seeking to preserve and grow their wealth over the long term.

    The UK has a stable political system with a long history of respecting property rights and the rule of law. This stability provides a secure environment for family offices to conduct their business activities, make long-term investment decisions, and plan for the future with confidence.

    As a leading financial centre, London provides family offices with access to global markets and investment opportunities. The UK’s membership in the Commonwealth and its strong ties to Europe and the rest of the world further enhance its position as a hub for international business and investment.

     

    Overall, the UK’s stable economic and political climate, coupled with its business-friendly environment and access to global markets, make it an attractive location for family offices seeking to preserve and grow their wealth over the long term.

    4. Services & talent access

    The UK provides family offices with a wide range of services and access to talented individuals. Its position as a global financial hub offers unique opportunities for specialised financial services and investments. Additionally, its legal and tax system, combined with its skilled workforce, make it an ideal location for wealth management. The country's world-renowned educational institutions offer training and educational opportunities to enhance knowledge and skills. The UK's progressive immigration policies, such as the Tier 1 Investor Visa, allow high-net-worth individuals and their families to move to the UK easily for business and wealth growth. Below is an overview of the wide range of services and immigration policies that family offices can access.

    The UK is a global financial hub, offering a wide range of financial services tailored to family offices, including wealth management, investment banking, and fund administration. London’s financial district, known as the City, is home to many leading financial institutions and service providers.

     

    The UK has a well-established legal and tax framework, with a wealth of expertise in areas such as trust law, estate planning, and tax optimisation. Family offices can access top-tier legal and tax advisors to help navigate complex regulatory and compliance requirements.

    The UK has policies to attract wealthy people and their businesses to the country to help boost the economy. There are two types of visas available for high-net-worth individuals and entrepreneurs:

     

    Tier 1 Investor Visa: The Tier 1 Investor Visa requires a minimum investment of £2 million in UK government bonds, share capital, or loan capital in active and trading UK-registered companies.

     

    Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa: The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa, which has been replaced by the Innovator Visa, requires a minimum investment of £200,000 in a UK business and creates jobs for settled workers.

     

    Family members of visa holders may also be eligible to join them in the UK. After a certain period of residence in the UK, individuals may be able to apply for British citizenship, which grants full rights and privileges as British citizens. These policies aim to attract wealthy individuals and entrepreneurs to the UK, contributing to its growth and development.

    5. Culture & lifestyle considerations

    The UK offers a diverse culture, rich history, and vibrant arts scene, providing family offices with a wide range of cultural experiences. The country's high quality of life, access to excellent healthcare and education, and well-developed infrastructure make it an attractive destination. With world-class universities, picturesque countryside, and a diverse culinary scene, the UK offers a desirable lifestyle for families. Understanding British social etiquette and being prepared for the variable weather are important considerations. Overall, the UK provides a favourable cultural and lifestyle environment for family offices looking to establish a presence there.

    The UK is known for its diverse culture, with a rich history of arts, music, literature, and cuisine. Family offices and their members can enjoy a wide range of cultural experiences, from visiting world-class museums and galleries to attending music festivals and theatrical performances.

    The UK offers a high quality of life, with access to excellent healthcare, education, and public services. Family offices can benefit from a safe and stable environment, with well-maintained infrastructure and a clean and green living environment.

    The UK is home to some of the world’s leading educational institutions, including prestigious universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, and Imperial College London. Families with children can access quality education, both at the school and university levels.

    The UK has a comprehensive healthcare system, the National Health Service (NHS), which provides access to healthcare services that are free at the point of use. Private healthcare options are also available for those who prefer additional services.

    The UK offers a variety of travel and leisure options, from exploring picturesque countryside and historic landmarks to enjoying vibrant city life and seaside resorts. The country’s well-connected transport network makes it easy to travel within the UK and to other European destinations.

    Service Providers

    landytech logo

    Landytech Landytech

    United Kingdom
    Portfolio Management

    Landytech is a financial technology company empowering family offices to make informed investment decisions.

    canoe

    Canoe Canoe

    United States of America
    Private Markets

    Automation of manual workflows related to alternative investment documents and data management, extraction and delivery.

    asora

    Asora Asora

    Ireland
    Data Aggregation

    Asora is a SAAS solution for single and multi-family offices to track and oversee assets, automating data capture and providing digital on demand reporting on web and mobile.

    Key numbers

    At a glance

    Evaluate key statistics to compare the United Kingdom with other regions

    Comparison United Kingdom

    Corporate Income Tax Rate

    19%

    Henley Passport Index 2023 Rankings

    3

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    FAQ

    Q

    How many family offices are there in the United Kingdom?

    A
    As of 2020, it’s estimated that there are around 1,000 single-family offices domiciled in the United Kingdom.

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