Alannah Weston, an heiress to one of the world’s biggest retail fortunes, has joined the growing number of women taking more control of their money.

Weston, 50, set up her own family office, AWC Projects, in April as she began to step back from her role as chair of Selfridges & Co., the luxury department store operator her family agreed to sell last year for about £4 billion ($4.5 billion) to a Thai-Austrian joint venture. The deal closed in August.

AWC is focused on sustainability and counts among its directors her former chief of staff at Selfridges, as well as an executive at holding companies for the Westons. The family has a fortune of $14 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

A representative for London-based AWC, where Weston is a director, declined to comment.

Other women among the world’s super-rich -- including Oprah Winfrey, Chinese property tycoon Wu Yajun and tennis legend Serena Williams -- have built up their own family offices in the past decade as their careers or personal situations evolved. In Western Europe, female investors control about a third of the region’s assets under management, a figure set to grow rapidly in coming years, a McKinsey report showed in June.

“We are seeing more women taking control,” said Kay Shah, US team head at Agreus Group, a recruiting firm for family offices. “Women are more in the mix in the new wealth of tech and crypto, and we are seeing some female entrepreneurs who have accumulated enormous fortunes.”

The number of women among the world’s 500 richest people has grown more than 10% over the past five years and now accounts for about 14% of the total, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. More than half are from North America, where they also often manage money for some of the biggest family offices.

Suzi Kwon Cohen is chief investment officer of Mousse Partners, the multibillion-dollar investment firm for the dynasty behind luxury fashion house Chanel. Marie Young holds the same role at Bayshore Global, the family office for Google co-founder Sergey Brin, while former Foresite Capital executive Alisa Mall was hired this month to oversee Michael Dell’s assets.

Weston is the daughter of Canadian entrepreneur W.G. Galen Weston. Before his death last year at age 80, he oversaw the expansion of the family’s empire, which includes budget-clothing firm Primark, luxury retailer Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges, acquired in 2003 for almost £600 million.

The family also owns big stakes in Canada’s largest food retailer, Loblaw Cos., through its conglomerate, George Weston Ltd., and manages its major assets through UK and Canadian holding companies. AWC director Ryan Carey, 47, is a vice president in the finance unit for the Canada branch, where the family’s Choice Properties Real Estate Investment Trust has extensive holdings.

Alannah Weston helped run Selfridges for almost two decades, first as creative director, then as deputy chair and chair.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.