In the last decade, the family office has become the preferred business model by the wealthy—especially the very wealthy. A number of factors have contributed to this including the explosion in private wealth at the high end.

“Throughout the world, the wealthy have gotten much wealthier, and there are more of them than ever before,” says Angelo Robles, founder and CEO of the Family Office Association. “This increase in private wealth is fostering the creation of more and more single-family offices. Other types of providers are not doing a good job addressing the requirements and preferences of these hyper-successful families, which also contributes to the increase.”

It is not only at the top of the economic pyramid where family offices are multiplying. “The promise of a family office is that it addresses—using the best talent there is—the needs and wants of the family,” explains Peter Sasaki, managing member of SDS family Office and co-author of Maximizing Your Single-Family Office: Leveraging the Power of Outsourcing and Stress Testing. “Who wouldn’t want high customization using the best-of-the-best providers? Because of the strategic use of external experts, it’s now possible to deliver the promise of the family office to families that previously couldn’t afford to set up a single-family office.”

The democratization of the family office is just now becoming prevalent. In 2020, we will start to see even elite wealth managers transition to become family office specialists. According to Cliff Oberlin, chairman and CEO of Oberlin Wealth Partners, “The ability to deliver the same world class experience and the array of expertise to successful families and entrepreneurs as single-family offices provide to the extremely wealthy is now possible. It’s called a virtual family office. What’s required is a coordinator who has a deep understanding of the family, is able to bring in carefully vetted specialists as appropriate, and is able to oversee those specialists.”

A virtual family office differs from a multi-family office in that it is truly bespoke. Virtual family offices are designed around each individual family. In contrast, multi-family offices usually have a certain set of services and products they concentrate on such as money management. Even so, in 2020, the number of multi-family offices will dramatically increase. Although appreciably different than single and virtual family offices, what a high-performing multi-family office can deliver is far better than what a great many other types of providers are able to deliver.

The wealthy and successful are, understandably, becoming more demanding and are looking for the best solutions to address their concerns. At the same time, they are interested in ensuring they are not missing any significant opportunities. This, again, is the promise of a family office. It is why there is so much interest among single-family offices in best practices and why many wealth management practices are converting to multi-family offices. Moreover, it is why some ingenious professionals figured out how to deliver the many advantages of a single-family office to all levels of wealth from the merely affluent to the super-rich—the virtual family office.

In 2020 and going forwards, all types of family offices will become much more prominent. For most people, it is simply the superior solution.

Russ Alan Prince, president of R.A. Prince & Associates, is a consultant to family offices, the ultra-wealthy and select professionals.