Family Business Governance

 
  • The Idea of Family Wealth

    The Idea of Family Wealth   This topic is absolutely foreign to the middle class, and even many high income earners. I myself have never experienced it;, my education comes directly from speaking with wealthy individuals and observing some of the richest families in history. The Idea of Family Wealth.

     
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  • Preparing Heirs by Bill High

    Preparing Heirs by Bill High     What is it about our kids that prompt such great emotion – from elation to depression? Certainly, there is no greater joy than to see our children flourish and no greater agony than to see them wander from our values and our beliefs.   Irony: neglecting the “soft” side   The greatest irony in family estate planning: spending countless hours on the “hard” side of assets while giving lip service to the “soft” side of people development.    The tendency in estate planning is to prepare legal documents that transfer financial wealth without preparing our children for true legacy. What does preparing our children for true legacy mean?   Preparing children for true legacy   Life is often a blur in the child-raising years. In the same timeframe that we are raising kids, we are building our careers. And frankly, some of us tend to do a better job of building financial wealth than “family wealth.” Much of what our children learn is left to chance: whatever they observe along the way.   When things finally settle down a bit, the children are graduated, off to college, or even absorbed with starting their own careers and families.    What is family wealth?   In his book, Family Wealth, James Hughes discusses the importance of human capital that includes the following outcomes – ideally for all family members:   They are thriving They have a strong sense of purpose, passion, and calling They have a strong sense of work ethic and character qualities like integrity, honesty, and compassion They have interpersonal relationships both within the family and externally They understand that life does not revolve around them but that instead they are part of a greater whole, a greater cause They have spiritual grounding They are generous.   These are big ideas, which go way beyond transferring financial capital. They go to transferring intellectual capital, social capital, emotional capital, and spiritual capital as well.   Good relationships require intentionality   It’s time spent with children with intentionality – making sure they understand our story and that we understand theirs. It is time spent repairing relational damage that is unintentional but inevitable. It is making sure they are healthy, thriving, and feeling fulfilled.    Giving together creates unity   One of the best tools I’ve found to bring families together is giving together. Structurally, that may take the form of creating a foundation or a donor advised fund. But practically, it simply means doing some giving together.   Giving is the great equalizer. Suffice it to say that giving prompts conversations that everyone can participate in regardless of age or experience.   Investing in legacy   So what do you want when you think about your heirs – great joy or great agony? It will take great effort to achieve the former. It must go beyond estate documents. Estate documents are a part, but they really should be guided with the influence of all forms of capital – […]

     
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  • The Family Compass by Jerry Nuerge

    The Family Compass by Jerry Nuerge     Families often lack a compass for navigating through potential distractions. Most high net worth people believe that if they have signed all their trust documents and wills, they have taken care of their future. After all, their attorneys and CPAs have assured them that the maximum amount of financial assets will be transferred to their spouse and then to their children with as little loss to the tax man as possible. Unfortunately, research shows that only ten percent of financial assets make it to the fourth generation.   A family’s values are just as important as those of a corporation, but they receive far less attention. I have found it more beneficial to families to focus on three often ignored components that have the potential to extend a legacy indefinitely:   1) What are your values?   2) What virtues will we pursue?   3) What do we want our family story to be?   Collectively, these are family brand equity, the core of a family’s culture. The values define the family, the virtues build the family, and the story describes the family.     VALUES Rather than elevate whatever human values are currently in vogue in our culture, we identify our family’s values based on the evidence of our calendar and pocketbook.      VIRTUES Virtues are frequently underestimated in importance. Aristotle argued that substantial happiness and human flourishing could be grasped only through the virtues. King Solomon stated it this way: “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you.” (Proverbs 3:1-3)   The battle of morality is not so much about knowing what is right as it is doing what is right.      STORY The family story is a crucial component. Think of the family story as an ongoing stream of past, present, and future stories of family members woven together. These stories, infused with the family’s values and virtues, provide a sense of identity as well as motivation to not be the generation that weakens the heritage.     Imagine the priceless joy when family brand equity is the focal point of our transfers to the next generation! These assets empower families to live intentionally productive lives for multiple generations.       To learn more about the Center for Family Conversations and the new book, Unheritage, click here.         WHY YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO JERRY?     Jerry Nuerge is founder and owner of the Financial Independence Group. He is also the creator of the Wealth Integration and Transfer System™, the Generation Connection Process™, as well as the Revenue Retrieval System™. Jerry holds a BBA and MBA degree, holds the Chartered Advisor in Philanthropy (CAP), is a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU), a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC), a Certified Family Wealth Counselor (CFWC), and a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA). He […]

     
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  • Family Business Governance: Examples from Egypt and Colombia

    Family Business Governance: Examples from Egypt and Colombia   This is the story of two family businesses, in Colombia and Egypt, that show the people and policies behind their longevity and success. Family businesses are the oldest and most prevalent form of business in the world. In many countries, family businesses represent up to 70 percent of the economy and play a big role in employment, growth, and quality of life. But most family businesses ultimately fail: about 95 percent do not survive the third generation of ownership.  IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, provides investment and advisory support to clients around the world, including advice on corporate governance, the structures and processes by which companies are directed and controlled.   

     
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  • Building a Family Business that Lasts

    Building a Family Business that Lasts   Dr. Joseph H. Astrachan, Executive Director of the Cox Family Enterprise Center at Kennesaw State University, speaks on on the topic of Building a Family Business That Lasts and provides viewers with four key points to walk away with. 

     
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  • Family Business Owner Driving the Kids Crazy – Someone Call Security – Tom Deans

    Family Business Owner Driving the Kids Crazy – Someone Call Security – Tom Deans     Last month I was speaking at a convention in Vancouver and took a question from the audience that made me laugh, even though I’d heard versions of the question before: “How do I get my 85-year-old father to stop coming to the office and causing all sorts of disruption?”   Before I could answer someone in the crowd shouted, “Remove the wheelchair ramp to the office!” The place went crazy. Laughing uncontrollably myself, I tried to get the room back on track by sharing my own family business story.   Now we all know it’s the prerogative of business owners to work as long as they choose – it’s one of the great perks of owning a business: voting control = management control. The great casualty is most often the succeeding generation, who are forced to walk the fine line between respecting a parent’s right to work and maintaining responsibility for driving profits through innovation.   But sometimes those profits are elusive precisely because parents never, ever leave and change is discouraged.   Fortunately, there is a simple and often overlooked solution that can channel the abilities and desires of both generations while keeping the fundamental goal of making money in focus – it’s called the Honorary Chairman.   Honorary Chairman: Complete with Job Description   I still have a vivid memory of my grandfather’s last business card, carrying the title “Founder and Honorary Chairman.” I loved that title and looking back, I think he did too – the title and the role he carved out for himself was that of wise counsel. It was a job that in some peculiar way suited him, as the founder of a significant manufacturing business, perfectly – a job he was driving toward his entire career. He was a naturally inclined philosopher and contrarian who loved provoking debate – the “why” was always more interesting than the “how” for him. Most importantly, in the last chapter of his life this role was carved out, respected and resourced but was really limited to board meetings and special projects.   The idea of the Office of the Honorary Chairman – and the literal office – always remained a safe haven from the threat of a mundane retirement (code for being relegated to staying home with my grandmother). The title was not, however, a license to wade into the details of ongoing operational issues. Rather, it was a place and a space for the founder to think and offer historical context and principled counsel without all the background noise of everyday business issues that too often cloud judgment.   Interestingly enough, I watched my father do precisely the same thing when I assumed the position of president of his manufacturing business. Culturally, the notion of wise counsel has resided in all our family businesses.   Business owners should be encouraged to establish truly independent advisory boards. Your freshly minted Honorary […]

     
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  • The 3rd Element of Planning by Rod Zeeb

      For centuries, “comprehensive planning” for most families has consisted of two elements: financial and estate planning. And for centuries, 90% of that planning has failed when measured by the objective of helping the family to retain both their family unity and their assets for more than two or three generations.   This is not a recent phenomena. Since ancient times, the majority of inheritance plans have failed. Two thousand years ago a Chinese scholar penned the adage: “fu bu guo san dai,” or “Wealth never survives three generations.” In thirteenth century England they said “Clogs to clogs in three generations,” and in nineteenth century America the expressions became “From shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations.” And, over 200 years ago, Adam Smith – of “specialization and division of labor” fame – summed it up in “The Wealth of Nations” when he said: “Riches, in spite of the most violent regulations of law to prevent their dissipation, very seldom remain long in the same family.”   The basic principles of most of the Inheritance Planning today were put in place by King Henry VIII nearly five hundred years ago   This three generation cycle is not news to financial and legal professionals.  Ask a room filled with advisors how many have seen families torn apart by issues surrounding money and inheritance, and you will see every hand shoot up. And yet, traditional, two-element planning continues to be the dominant framework within which most people prepare for their futures. (By the way, when we say ‘traditional,’ we mean it: the basic system of inheritance planning used in the Western world today is not much different than it was in 1540, when England’s King Henry VIII pushed his Statute of Wills through Parliament and set in motion many of the processes and procedures we use to this day!)   Change comes slowly in the world of planning. The most significant changes since the 16th century have come about in just the past quarter century. In the mid-1980’s, Bob Esperti and Renno Peterson formed the National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys with a goal to “Change how America Plans” to use Living Trusts and avoid probates in even modest estates.  Within 10 years, the Network had grown to over 1,500 members, and Living Trusts were becoming the norm in all estate plans. The National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys helped change the way America did its estate planning; which was a wonderful accomplishment.   But, they still did not transform how America plans.  That is the goal of heritage planning, and the increasing number of advisors, non-profit officers and educators around the world who are introducing the 3rd Element of Planning to their constituents.   Register Today for our Upcoming Counselling the Affluent Program!

     
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  • Do you have a Chief Legacy Officer? by Family Wealth Coach

    Do you have a Chief Legacy Officer? by Family Wealth Coach   No, that’s not a mistake in the title. But we wouldn’t blame you for thinking that, because Chief Legacy Officers are a relatively new idea.   We get lots of feedback about how much the “values and vision” concepts in our blogs resonate with readers. We can imagine though, that with everything else that’s going on in your life, it can be difficult to implement some of those ideas as effectively, efficiently and directly as you’d like. That’s where the Chief Legacy Officer comes in.   The idea behind the “Chief Legacy Officer” originated from the Family Office Exchange. It’s an idea that we’re enthusiastic about because a Chief Legacy Officer is to values and vision, what a CEO is to executive decisions, and a CFO is to financial decisions. We firmly believe that decisions about values, vision and mission play as crucial of a role in your business and family office as the executive and financial decision-making aspects. After all, there needs to be a driving reason behind making those executive and financial decisions.   A Chief Legacy Officer can help to define governance structures, and can be designated to implement some of the important concepts that we’ve discussed in past blogs such as engaging and educating the next generation.   This isn’t a fluffy role; it should be taken just as seriously as the selection of a CEO and CFO. However, one difference to consider between those roles and a Chief Legacy Officer is that experience isn’t always an asset. Leaving this role to the first generation can have risks. Incorporate the second and third generation’s views. The first generation’s take on all of this is great, but it will fade with them if the younger generation’s views are not also considered.   Incorporating a Chief Legacy Officer gives you the opportunity to focus attention and energy on all angles of your family business and estate—not just the obvious ones.

     
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