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Familosophy

David’s Familosophy newsletter

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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Turning Succession Upside Down

Turning Succession Upside Down

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The headlines are everywhere – a high percentage of family businesses have no formal succession plan – and then the story launches in to the usual tropes about estate planning, life insurance, choosing a successor, etc. But maybe we should be turning this upside down? After all, by necessity, a family business succession involves two generations – the incumbent and the rising – and so much of the thinking about succession focusses on (a) the perspective of…

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Family Business Transition Key Ingredients

Family Business Transition Key Ingredients

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“How to transition the family business to the next generation?” The answer depends on (a) who is asking (incumbent or rising generation) and (b) when (in the life-cycle of the business) they are asking. More often than not, the question is raised too late – when the incumbent generation is thinking of retirement, when there are already unstated expectations from both generations, and when there is already latent conflict. The key ingredients to a successful…

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Letting go transition planning

Letting Go – Transition Planning

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“How do I transfer wealth to my children without spoiling them?” That would be the most common question I am asked, and for most people, stands at the heart of the challenge of wealth transition. But often this question masks what parents really want, e.g. “how do I get my children to do/be what I want?” That question is not about wealth, but about parental power and control. And when parents say “I don’t want…

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Women in business - 50 percent

50% of the population

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Women are at least 50% of the population, yet historically have been poorly represented in the wealth industry – as custodians and managers of family wealth, in family business, and as advisors. But that is changing on all fronts. The percentage of wealth in the world held by women is steadily growing – as a result of inheritance (females generally outlive their husbands), divorce and entrepreneurship. In the Middle East, 20-40% of wealth is held…

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philanthropy decision-makers in family

Philanthropy decision-makers in your family

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Family philanthropy can be a very effective way to bridge generations and engage the rising generation. However, according to a recent poll from Key Private Bank, there are significant differences between parents and children on matters of giving. Most parents are not discussing philanthropy with their children, let alone agreeing on causes. 82% of advisors say very few clients involve the next generation in family philanthropy. Faith-based causes represent 73% of interest from parents, but…

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