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General articles written by David, either on this site or other sites

generational wealth value

The Value of Intergenerational Wealth

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The role of family offices has evolved from being an investment platform to guiding the next generation(s) back into the family business. A next-generation development program will help the next generation become good owners and future leaders. According to HBR, these programs focus on five key objectives: business ownership skills and competencies; family business principles and practical knowledge of the family business’ assets, understanding the family history and values; and developing personal leadership competencies. Boston…

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Intergenerational Altruism

Public debt: Intergenerational burden shifting

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A fascinating research article discusses public debt and intergenerational burden shifting. Using laboratory experiments, it seeks to understand how voters make choices about the way public debt should be accumulated in the presence of multiple and/or overlapping generations. The study finds that in the presence of future generations, voters are comfortable with the government loading up with debt in the knowledge that this debt burden will have to be satisfied by future generations. But without…

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Family Equaliser

The Family Equaliser

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When there is more than enough wealth for the family itself, families often turn to philanthropy as a way of “giving back” to society. Like anything, philanthropy can be done well, and not so well, and for the right reasons as well as the wrong reasons. These factors are not necessarily connected – someone may support a charitable project purely to feed their ego, yet it may achieve substantial social good. Certainly, doing things for…

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Principia Familia Stewardship of Family Business

Principia Familia

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I’m thrilled to have joined the experts panel at &Simple, who are focussed on helping FOs and their service providers professionalise and be future-ready through insights, services and data. In my first insight published on their platform, I articulate three principles of good family governance: 1. The stewardship (rather than ownership) mindset: family wealth does not belong to any individual, rather to the family – both present and future. The people who happen to be responsible for it at any time…

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Mission, Vision, Values of Family Business

The Foundation of a Family Business

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There is more to maintaining family wealth through generations than getting the best financial advisors and managers for operating assets. Families of wealth must learn how to work together in the sharing of assets. A key part of that is to integrate their wealth management with their values. That means the values need to be articulated within the family. Then, the family needs clear and open dialogue discussing values as well as financial assets, and…

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Family Business Principles

Family businesses need another set of principles

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Family businesses aren’t just businesses that happen to be owned and/or managed by a family. Factors like a long-term perspective, and the multiple/overlapping roles of owners, employees and family members are both strengths and weaknesses. These factors mean that family businesses need another set of principles to help them stay strong. Because many stakeholders have multiple hats, separation of powers is very important. Everyone needs to understand what their roles are (employee, manager, owner, etc)…

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Cult Behavior in Family Business

Cult Behavior in Wealthy Families

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The pandemic crisis is forcing the hand of family businesses to address the pace of change in new ways. Every day we must act and even make some tough choices—despite the lack of any reliable information about the best direction to take. Some owners make tough decisions on their own, rather than seeking help from others. Some choose impulsive or blind allegiance pathways. I wrote the following on the Bloomberg press about the Singh brothers…

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Family Business Inlaws

Family Office In-Laws

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How to deal with family members by marriage poses significant challenges to wealthy families. Should they be allowed to work in the family business? If so, should there be a ceiling on their authority (stock, voting rights, etc)? Do they have a seat/voice at family meetings? What if the only person in the rising generation with the skills to be involved in the family business is a child-in-law? What to do when a marriage is…

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navigating trends in family office

Navigating Trends in Family Office

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The family office space is constantly evolving. This is driven in part by the investment flavour of the month, global economic/political trends, wealth transition within families, the family follow-me-go-round (families looking at what others are doing), and the general competitive environment amongst FO offerings. Essentially, a family office is a set of services used by a wealth family to manage its wealth and other associated needs. There are no rules for how a FO can…

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Conflict in Family Business

Conflict in Family Business

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How we deal with conflict in family business is totally different to a regular workplace. Why? In family business, we wear multiple hats: family member, co-worker, owner, and those roles can lead to conflicts of interests. The work hierarchy is overlaid by the family hierarchy, and that can lead to … conflicts of interests. And unlike a regular workplace, it’s not quite so easy to just quit for another job. By their nature, families and…

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