Family offices have shown resilience amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, with 77% of them exceeding or performing in line with their target benchmarks over the year to May.

The findings are from the Global Family Office Report 2020 by UBS, which polled principals and executives in 120 family offices globally.

Of the family offices polled, 55% said that they rebalanced their portfolios in March, April and May to maintain long-term allocation.

Focus on cash and gold  

Family offices have shifted towards cash and gold, the study revealed.

Gold is expected to remain a long-term focus, with 45% expressing willing to increase their exposure to the metal.

However, the shift to cash is expected to be a temporary move, with 26% planning to reduce cash reserves over the coming 2-3 years.

Besides, family offices plan to increase allocations in real estate (45%), developed market equities (44%), and emerging market equities (38%).

Sustainable investments remain a priority

At present, 73% of family offices make at least some sustainable investments.

The trend is expected to rise, noted UBS, with 39% of the family offices planning to allocate most of their portfolios sustainably in five years.

Expectations for private equity returns decrease

Over three-quarters of the family offices currently invest in private equity, with 69% citing it as a major returns driver.

But the economic dislocation from the pandemic has led to a fall in expectations for private equity returns.

Thirty-five percent of family offices now said that direct investments provide more control, compared to 27% before the economic turbulence.

UBS Global Wealth Management head of Global Family Office Josef Stadler said: “Family offices have behaved differently to others during one of the most volatile periods in the history of financial markets.

“In some senses, we saw them take an institutional approach, applying meticulous asset allocation strategies and rigorous investment processes. However uncomfortable it may have been at times, they stuck to their plans and remained disciplined.”