Research & Insights

Alliance Research

The Family Wealth Alliance leads the way by chronicling the North American family wealth space: we have provided some of the most innovative research to date. Since our founding in 2003 and through 2017, we will have produced and released 24 research reports. They range from our Multifamily Office and Single-Family Office studies, to our External CIO and Client Reporting studies, to our Security and Fees & Pricing studies. Alliance Research collectively reports on several hundred firms that advise approximately 7,000 private family relationships and advise on total assets in excess of $2 trillion. In addition, our Alliance Insights contains slide presentations and edited video clips from many previous Alliance Events, as well as a number of articles and white papers written by our Alliance Partner & Member firms.

Please note that most all of this content is reserved for our Alliance Partners & Member firms, via the login page. If you would like to request access to our research, but are not a Partner or Member, please use the contact form on the right hand side of this page.

Alliance Research Studies

Alliance Research has reported on the private family office side of this space with the release of five Single-Family Office study reports.  We have learned a great deal of these leading executives and family members about such issues as Sustainability, Human Capital, Reporting, Security, and the use of Strategic Outsourcing for such services as the External CIO, Client Reporting, Concierge Medicine, Travel, and Household Staffing, among others.


In 2006 we were the first organization to call into question the sustainability of certain sectors of the family wealth industry.  Long before the financial crisis was an issue, we started to wonder about certain family office service models, beset by the Twin Drivers of Scalability and Talent (large forces behind the trend to outsource). 

Chronicling the Industry

We then chronicled and reported on 10 different “flavors” of family wealth firms, including MFOs, SFOs, and Ext. CIO firms, and we foretold the life cycle of many of these types of firms.  Accordingly, 2007 we foretold of the highest growth or Introduction phase firms, later known as the Four Pillar Firms.  These types of firms were forecast to have higher growth and fatter profit margins than their full-service MFO and SFO counterparts.  They are the External CIO firms, the Trust Companies, the Client Reporting firms, and the Administration firms.


The Alliance then turned its attention to chronicling each of the these Four Pillar firms, starting with an impressive new breed called the External Chief Investment Officer firms, or External CIOs for short.  We consequently scored another industry first by publishing three External CIO Study reports, with the first report released in 2010.

The Alliance in 2010, after a number of years looking at the issues of non-investment risks and threats to families and firms, formed the Alliance Security Council.  It later turned its attention to an emerging field of study, that of Security.  With is Security Study published in 2012, Alliance Research chronicled what firms were seeing as threats to it private clients, as we cited acute threats such as cyber security and travel, to unknown threats such as identity theft, to chronic threats such as health, travel, and reputation management and even sustainability.

Alliance Research then published the first-ever study on the Client Reporting firms, another of the Four Pillar Firms and predicted in 2013 a consolidation of this burgeoning segment.  Since that time, our call has been confirmed repeatedly by the many announcements of acquisitions and mergers in this sector.

Newest Research and Trends and Implications

2015, we are proud to be releasing the first-ever study of what family wealth firms directly charge their private clients, chronicled in the Fees & Pricing Study.  While we have tracked via our previous research, the fees that these firms were charging their clients and their profit margins, this is the first comprehensive study about how and what firms charge their clients..


The Alliance is famous for its Shifts By the Decades look at the family wealth industry.  As a result, it has spawned new and innovative thinking about the types of firms that have dominated the landscape, the emergence of the client-centric model, and the Threats & Opportunities created by the ever-changing forces of the marketplace.  Through this tool, we have chronicled the Twin Drivers of Scalability & Talent, the Evolution of Compensation, Services and Providers, and the Four Pillars and the Four Portals.  In addition, we are watching some of the latest trends such as Sustainability & Relevancy, and the significant consequences of the Community Exchange.

Most recently, we are keeping a close eye on what may be the third major pivot in the last six decades: the Disintermediation Effect.  If this plays out like we believe, it will have profound implications for how fees are charged, how clients perceive advice and their willingness to pay for it, and it will greatly change the landscape of providers and how advice is delivered to various client segments.