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Deloitte expands family business offering with acquisition

The proliferation of entrepreneurialism around the world means the family business sector has massive growth potential, according to Deloitte, and the Big Four firm is positioning itself to further take advantage of this market.

It announced this month that it is acquiring UK family enterprise business Peter Leach & Partners. In a press release, Deloitte described the eponymous founder as the founding father of family business in the UK.

Leach’s firm consults families on succession planning, establishing family constitutions, and philanthropy.

Deloitte is not the first of the Big Four consultancy firms to target family businesses. Last month, PwC released its biennial Global Family Business Survey. KPMG and EY each have their own family business units.

Speaking on the strategic move, Paula Higgleton, a partner in Deloitte’s private client services division, says the firm has been experiencing “unprecedented growth” in its private markets practice, and entrepreneurialism will see this trend continue.

“This is particularly apparent in the emerging markets where successful founders are facing the prospect of having to manage the transition of their businesses to the next generation for the first time,” Higgleton says, adding that Deloitte wants to become the “go to” firm for these families.

Leach says the partnership will help him share his expertise with a wider audience. Alexandra Sharpe joins him in the move, and both will become partners at the firm.

According to Sharpe, family businesses face the same challenges as any other enterprise, but also have to put aside time, energy and resources to deal with family matters. “Tricky relationships, communication patterns and different personalities within the family mean that poorly conceived succession planning and decision making can get in the way of commercial success and family harmony.”

The acquisition takes effect in January 2015.

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