With the meteoric rise of private wealth world wide, and the recent downturn of high tech stocks, direct investment in real estate has become an increasingly attractive proposition for high net worth investors. Private banks have set up ëfamily officesí and many investment banks have branched out into the lucrative business of catering for private clients. The paper investigates how these institutions, generally not familiar with property as a financial asset, accommodate this trend. Two questions are of particular interest: (1) the degree to which property related advisory services are organised by specialist in-house teams as opposed to being outsourced to independent advisors, and (2) the nature of advice given to private investors, families and syndicates of investors. The study relies predominantly on a postal survey sent to a sample of private banks and investment banks in Europe. The findings show that direct property is a business different from indirect investment vehicles and is either eschewed altogether or treated as a service which requires the combination of in-house expertise with a flexible network of independent advisors and agents associate with particular markets.