Family Office : 3 Reasons Malaysians Need to Know This Now

Family Office in Malaysia: Discover 3 Powerful Reasons Malaysians Must Know Now

Family Office in Malaysia

The family office sector has grown rapidly, collectively managing around $5.9 trillion in assets in 2023. Especially in the Asia-Pacific region, with a 44% increase between 2017 and 2019, it highlights its appeal among the wealthy. In Malaysia, this is a new industry as we don’t have a regulatory framework in place. The unity government in 2023 is the first to put concrete efforts into concentrating on this globally growing industry. Here are the reasons why we must know about the family office in Malaysia now:

1) Focus of the Malaysian Government

In June 2023, Malaysian Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim announced initiatives to attract more investors, particularly to small and medium sectors of the new economy. Following this, the Ministry of Finance and the Securities Commission will develop policies to encourage the establishment of family office in Malaysia.

In 2024, the Malaysian government will introduce a new regulatory framework aimed at attracting family offices, with the announcement scheduled for this year’s budget. This update comes from Datuk Seri Awang Adek Hussin, the chairman of the Securities Commission Malaysia.

All these developments raise an important question: Is there enough talent to manage all this wealth, both present and incoming, and is the Malaysian market ready to handle it? For now, the answer is no.

However, if you are looking for an international family office, we have good news for you. One of Asia’s top family offices has just set up their office in Malaysia. You can find out more by making an appointment with their consultant now

2) Family Office Opportunity Cost

Eduardo Saverin, a co-founder of Facebook, utilised a family office to manage his assets after relocating to Singapore, which according to the New York Post, saved him approximately $288 million in taxes. This strategic financial management exemplifies the substantial benefits that can be realised through the effective use of family offices, not just in tax savings but also in broader wealth preservation and growth strategies.

Kuok Meng Xiong leads K3 Ventures, an investment firm linked to his family office in Singapore. He is the grandson of Robert Kuok, Malaysia’s richest man. K3 Ventures has made strategic investments in major tech companies like ByteDance (parent of TikTok) and Grab, Southeast Asia’s first decacorn valued over $10 billion. This highlights the innovative role family offices play in tech investments and growth strategies. Malaysia misses out on such opportunities due to the lack of a robust family office sector and dedicated regulatory framework for family office in Malaysia. For more details, refer to the original article on The Ken: The Tech-First Future of SE Asia’s Family Offices.

Another example is Joseph Tsai Co-Founder of Alibaba Group, Tsai’s family office purchased the Brooklyn Nets of the NBA for $3.5 billion in 2019. By 2024, the value of the investment has increased to $3.85 billion. This represents a $350 million increase in just five years, showcasing a successful example of strategic investment management by a family office if you are considering similar strategic financial management, you might find it beneficial to explore how to set up an offshore trust in Malaysia

3) Asia’s Wealth Landscape & Talent Gap

By 2027, there will be roughly 210,000 ultra-high-net-worth-individuals (at least US$30mil or RM141mil worth) in Asia, up by 39.8% from 2022.

Name Net Worth (2023) Description Country Industry Family Office Name Major Investments Philanthropic Activities Year Established Education Awards/Recognitions
Sergey Brin $94.5 billion Co-Founder of Google Singapore Technology Brin Family Office Real estate, technology startups Brin Wojcicki Foundation 2005 Stanford University Marconi Prize, National Medal of Technology
Mukesh Ambani $93.4 billion Indian billionaire businessman Singapore Energy, Retail Reliance Family Office Oil, telecommunications Reliance Foundation 1981 Institute of Chemical Technology Business Leader of the Year
Liang Xinjun $4.2 billion Chinese billionaire, co-founder of Fosun Group Singapore Investment Fosun Family Office Healthcare, real estate Fosun Foundation 1992 Fudan University Top 10 Chinese Entrepreneurs
Ray Dalio $19.1 billion American hedge fund investor Singapore Finance Dalio Family Office Hedge funds, real estate Dalio Foundation 1975 Harvard Business School Philanthropist of the Year
Jack Ma $23.2 billion Founder of Alibaba Group Hong Kong Technology, E-commerce Lakeside Partners E-commerce, fintech Jack Ma Foundation 1999 Hangzhou Normal University Asia’s Heroes of Philanthropy
Li Ka-shing $34.6 billion Hong Kong business magnate Hong Kong Conglomerate Horizon Ventures Real estate, technology Li Ka Shing Foundation 1950 None Grand Bauhinia Medal
Joseph Tsai $8.1 billion Co-Founder of Alibaba Group Hong Kong Technology, Investment Blue Pool Capital Sports franchises, real estate Tsai Foundation 2012 Yale University Business Person of the Year
James Dyson $23.0 billion Founder of Dyson Singapore Technology, Consumer Goods Weybourne Group Technology, real estate James Dyson Foundation 2013 Royal College of Art Order of Merit, Royal Designer for Industry

Wealthy Individuals Who Set Up Family Offices in Asia

Wealthy Malaysians often park their wealth abroad due to the current talent gap in the country, which affects the growth of the family office in Malaysia industry. Family offices require a unique skill set, blending professional expertise with a personal touch, which is uncommon in other workplaces. KPMG’s report notes that within the family office business in Asia, CEOs earn between SG$158,001 and SG$500,000 (RM1.76 million) per year, excluding bonuses.

FIAM is committed to helping Malaysia fill this talent gap by providing training with the help of international family office experts. Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about upcoming events related to family office in Malaysia, offshore trust, and inheritance

Understanding Family Offices

A family office is a private wealth management advisory firm that serves ultra-high-net-worth investors. Family offices are distinct from traditional wealth management shops in that they offer a total outsourced solution to managing the financial and investment side of an affluent individual or family.

History: The concept began with the Rockefeller family in the late 19th century, who pioneered this approach to consolidate management of the family’s sprawling empire under a single office.

SFO vs. MFO:

Single Family Office (SFO): Manages the wealth and personal affairs of one family. It offers highly personalized services and confidentiality, with strategies tailored to the specific needs of that family.

Multi-Family Office (MFO): Provides similar services but to multiple families. MFOs can offer cost-sharing benefits and access to a wider range of expertise and investment opportunities, making them suitable for families that may not have the resources to run a standalone office.
Both types of family offices provide customized financial care, but the choice between SFO and MFO depends on the family’s size, costs considerations, and desired exclusivity of services.

Key Features and Options for Setting Up a Family Office in Malaysia before budget 2024

The three primary options for setting up a structure similar to a family office in Malaysia currently are:

1. Private Limited Company (Sdn Bhd):

– Governed by the Companies Act 2016.
– Offers limited liability protection.
– Can be managed by family members or appointed professionals.

2. Trust Company:
– Operates under the Trust Companies Act 1949.
– Manages properties and investments on behalf of the family.
– Treated as separate entities for tax purposes.

3. Labuan Entities (Offshore Jurisdiction):
– Labuan Trusts: No need for registration if a Labuan trust company acts as the trustee. Offers a 3% tax on audited net profits. Learn More
– Labuan Foundations: Separate legal entities holding assets for beneficiaries, exempt from tax on investment income from non-trading activities. Learn More
– Labuan Protected Cell Companies (PCC): Segregates assets and liabilities into different cells, providing flexibility and cost efficiency in managing diverse investments. Learn More

Comparison of family office in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore

Malaysia currently lags behind Singapore and Hong Kong in establishing family offices primarily due to the lack of a specialized regulatory framework and dedicated tax incentives. To enhance the attractiveness and functionality of family offices in Malaysia, the government needs to address the following key issues:

  • Complex Regulatory Frameworks
  • Shortage of Experienced Professionals
  • Smaller Market Size
  • Currency Risks
Below are details comparison between family office in Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Singapore
Feature Singapore Hong Kong Malaysia
Legal Entities Private Limited Company, Trust, VCC Limited Liability Company, Trust Private Limited Company (Sdn Bhd), Trust, Labuan Entities
Regulatory Environment MAS, ACRA Securities and Futures Commission Companies Commission of Malaysia, Labuan FSA
Tax Incentives Sections 13D, 13O, 13U Tax concessions for investment profits No dedicated tax incentives for family offices
Market Growth Rapid expansion of SFOs; robust framework Target to attract 200 family offices by 2025 Emerging market; initial government initiatives
Preferred Structures Holding company overseeing an investment fund and a family office entity SFO emphasized; Family-owned Investment Holding Vehicles Various options, including traditional and Labuan structures
Licensing Requirements Licensing exemptions for SFOs; others require license License required for regulated activities General business registration, no specific license
Investment Vehicles VCC (Variable Capital Company) Typically structured around legal entities like LLCs Sdn Bhd, Trust, Labuan trusts, foundations, and PCCs
Global Competitiveness Leading hub in Asia due to legal and tax frameworks Competing closely with Singapore for leadership Striving to enhance competitiveness


We must understand and prepare ourselves for family offices before the new regulatory framework announcement in the budget this October. As the saying goes, the early bird catches the worm, and opportunities always favor those who are well-prepared. The future of family office in Malaysia looks bright, whether you’re a wealthy investor or someone looking to work in this growing industry

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