The International Family Office Association (IFOA), an ideas-exchange for the ultra-wealthy, was recently launched in Sydney.

The not-for-profit association was established to provide a central, virtual location for research, education, collaboration and guidance for ultra high-net-worth individuals, family offices and their service providers.

Founded by Scott MacDonald, Stephen Harrison and Mark Ohlsson, the initiative aimed to provide an exchange of best-practice ideas about all dimeansions of high-end wealth management, such as investment strategy, family succession planning and philanthropy.

MacDonald, who has helped market and distribute managed funds globally with the VanMac Group, said: “It provides a platform where people with knowledge and interest in the sector can congregate.

“In the region there’s no independent association or organisation that caters to the growing interests or needs of those accumulating wealth.”

In 2001, China recorded its first billionaire, he said. Now, it was estimated that the nation harboured 400.

“There’s a huge amount of growing wealth and, as part of that, these people want to understand how to maintain their wealth and structure themselves correctly and learn from other people in this same area. People want to exchange ideas directly rather than having them filtered,” MacDonald explained.

The association also aimed to address the problems arising from an imminent transfer of wealth as many younger people inherit the wealth generated by their baby boomer parents.

“What we’re going to see over the next 10 or 20 years is this huge transfer of wealth going to the next generation, so people that haven’t actually earned the money, but need to learn how to maintain [this wealth] and how governance standards and family values are maintained, and that taxation, investment and diversification strategies are correctly done,” said MacDonald.

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