amily businesses are once more a commercial force to be reckoned with. For the families themselves the passion may never have dimmed, but there is a renewed commercial interest in how resilient large family businesses in particular are proving to be in the face of global uncertainty. So what are the sources of their strength? We asked a range of experts at HSBC Private Bank and beyond for their take on the unique characteristics of good family enterprises.
They understand ownership, control And Long-term planning It’s said that failing to plan is the same as planning to fail. Bernard Rennell, regional head of global private banking, Asia Pacific, and global head of family governance and family enterprise succession at HSBC Private Bank, says that lack of adequate planning can condemn even the strongest family businesses. “Most families are used to thinking strategically for their family business and investments—it’s natural; it’s instinctive,” he says. “But it’s less instinctive to plan for ‘the business of the family’. However, if the family business is to succeed over the longer term, it’s essential to plan for the impact of intergenerational wealth transfer on the business and on family harmony.”
Rennell underlines factors that can create the right conditions for a healthy, long-living family business: “Developing a framework for collective decision-making which recognises and respects the different roles and responsibilities of owners and managers—a critical distinction as the family grows in number over time.”
They Are in it for The Long Term According to Adrian Wooldridge, management editor at
if family businesses can capture the essence of their history, this creates an appeal that engenders a long-lasting and