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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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Family business owner or management

Family Governance; Owner or Management

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When family wealth is controlled or owned by a single person (usually the wealth creator), things are simple. But at some point, the wealth will likely pass to more than one person – the wealth creator’s children. In respect of the family wealth, the members of the family are bound together through three circles of involvement: family, business and ownership. That adds a huge degree of complexity, as no decision gets made in isolation. Strong…

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Family Business Conflict

Family Business Conflict

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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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Upside Down Succession

Upside Down Succession

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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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Entrepreneurial Spirit Legacy

Entrepreneurial Spirit Legacy

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Most wealth is created through entrepreneurship: taking a risk to start a business, and growing that business. Some families with generationally “old” money (i.e. more than 3-4 generations removed from the wealth creator) may have their family wealth in passive assets, and the entrepreneurial spirit that created it is long gone from memory, sometimes irretrievably lost. For families that hold (or acquire) operating assets, it’s important to maintain that entrepreneurial spirit in subsequent generations, but…

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Family Business Advisor Traits to Consider

Consider these Family Advisor Traits

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When it comes to advisors, I have two simple rules: Family advisors need additional skills because they must work with the various members or governance structures of a family, and key people & structures may change with time. They need to know about communication, in order to help the family members themselves communicate well. They need to understand family dynamics, and get to know the ins and outs of the families they deal with. They…

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Values of a Successful Family Business

The Values of a Successful 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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Strength of Family Business

The Strength of Family Business

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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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Family led philanthropy

Family Led Philanthropy

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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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Public conflict resolution in family wealth

Public conflict resolution in family wealth

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The conflicts that take place within wealthy families are often on display through the media as a result of their public profiles (and because people want to read about them). For outsiders, they can be hard to understand: What are they fighting about? Surely there is enough there for everyone? But in fact, wealthy families have all the same family issues as others: sibling rivalries, favouritism, jealousy, power struggles, and the search for identity. The…

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