The population of ultra-high net worth individuals in Africa is growing at a faster pace than any other region in the world, except Asia. According to the 2021 Knight Frank Wealth Report, Africa is expected to see a five-year ultra-wealth growth rate of 33% to reach close to 4,400 individuals by 2026. A lot of that wealth will be created by entrepreneurs.
Successfully managing a family’s wealth and its enduring legacy can be a challenge without a family office—an entity established or engaged by a single family or a group of families to manage their wealth. While the family office industry is quite nascent in Africa, a dynamic family office ecosystem is slowly developing.
Many African billionaires and ultra-wealthy individuals are opening up to the idea of an entity solely devoted to managing the wealth and affairs of their families. While many Africans are leaving their fortunes and affairs to be managed by multi family offices and private banks, a handful have established their own single family offices to cater to their immediate and extended families.
These single family offices are staffed with professionals responsible for a myriad of tasks including, but not limited to, wealth management and philanthropy, as well as tax planning and concierge services.
Here are 10 family offices owned by African billionaires and what they do.
Founder: TY Danjuma
TY Danjuma Family Office is a privately-owned single family office that manages the assets of Nigerian billionaire and former defence minister Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (pictured left).
The firm, which is based in Surrey, England, invests in public market equity and fixed income portfolios, alternative investments, real estate, and direct private equity investments. It manages the TY Global Conservative Fund, an open-ended USD mixed-asset fund incorporated in Singapore with a bias towards emerging markets. The firm also invests in everything from art and movie production to industrial gases and pharmaceuticals.
Founder: Mary Oppenheimer-Slack
Location: Isle of Man, Johannesburg, London
Mary Oppenheimer-Slack is the granddaughter of Sir Ernest Oppenheimer, the legendary diamond and gold mining entrepreneur. She manages her fortune through Mary Oppenheimer Daughters family office (MODO), a single family office that has locations in Johannesburg, London and Isle of Man.
While asset allocations are a closely held secret, MODO made the headlines in 2020 when it gave a $5.5-million lifeline to Phumelela, South Africa’s biggest horse racing company, after the racetrack owner filed for a local form of bankruptcy protection. Oppenheimer-Slack, a horse racing enthusiast, owns the Wilgerbosdrift stud farm. She is the founder of Business and Arts South Africa in 1997 and served as its first chairwoman.
Founder: Nicky Oppenheimer
Oppenheimer Generations is the family office tasked with managing the wealth and philanthropic activities of Nicky Oppenheimer (pictured right) and his son, Jonathan Oppenheimer.
Nicky, heir to the DeBeers diamond fortune, and elder brother of Mary Oppenheimer-Slack, sold his 40% of the firm to Anglo American for $5.2 billion in cash in 2012.
Oppenheimer Generations, through its investment arm, Oppenheimer Partners, invests in private equity. Some of its investments include Ugandan beverage company Hariss Industries, GZI, an aluminum beverage can manufacturer, and energy infrastructure company, Genser.
Founder: Tony Elumelu
Heirs Holdings is the family office of Nigerian billionaire Tony Elumelu. Its portfolio spans the power, oil and gas, financial services, hospitality, real estate and healthcare sectors, operating in 23 countries worldwide.
Selous Family Office
Founder: Rostam Aziz
Selous is the Dubai-based family office of Tanzanian billionaire Rostam Aziz (pictured left). It manages an extensive property portfolio in the Middle East, as well as private investments in energy and infrastructure across East Africa.
Aziz was previously the largest shareholder in Vodacom Tanzania, the country’s largest mobile telecoms company. He sold his stake to Vodacom Group of South Africa in 2018 and 2019.
Tengen Family Office
Founder: Herbert Wigwe and Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede
Tengen, a Lagos-based family office manages the private assets of Nigerian bankers Herbert Wigwe and Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, the two men who acquired Access Bank in 2002 and transformed it from a tiny local bank into a multinational financial services giant.
Tengen invests in financial services, energy, real estate and art.
Founder: Mohamed Mansour
Man Capital is the London-based family office of Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour (pictured left). It invests in private capital in privately-held companies in the education, healthcare, logistics, oil and gas, real estate, technology, and telecoms sectors. The company is managed by Loutfy Mansour, Mohamed’s son.
Founder: Eric Ellerine
Eric Ellerine Trust was founded in 2012 by South African furniture tycoon Eric Ellerine, the founder of Ellerine Holdings. Eric and his brother Sidney founded Ellerine Holdings in 1950 and ran it for five decades, building the company into one of South Africas largest furniture retailers. They retired in 2000.
Eric Ellerine Trust has three main areas of investment focus namely: investments in the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, property investments and private equity investments. Its property portfolio includes stakes in properties such as Canal Walk (Cape Town), The Glen (in the south of Johannesburg), and the Fourways Crossing Centre (in Fourways, Johannesburg), as well as many other iconic buildings. The family office is run by his daughter, Dionne Ellerine.
Founder: Issam Darwish
Sam Darwish (pictured left), who has Nigerian, Lebanese, and US citizenship, is the owner of Singularity Investments, a Lagos-based family office that focuses on tech investments.
Singularity has backed companies like Paystack, Flutterwave, AsokoInsight and Smile Identity.
Darwish is the chairman and group chief executive of IHS Towers, the largest mobile telecom infrastructure provider in Africa, Europe and the Middle East.
Steyn Family Office
Founder: Douw Steyn
Steyn Family Office is the family office of South African billionaire, Douw Steyn, the founder of BGL Group, a UK-based insurance and financial services company. Steyn is also the owner of the popular Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg, and Steyn City, a luxury private estate sitting on a 900ha site between Fourways and Lanseria in Johannesburg.
Steyn Family Office has investments and operating subsidiaries in the UK, US and South Africa across a range of private market investment strategies including real estate, private equity and venture capital.