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Features

May 27, 2019

Family offices are standing on the precipice of a multi-trillion dollar transfer of wealth between generations, yet succession planning among family offices is moving at a glacial pace. What are the barriers to planning? And what should families be doing now?

The cautionary tale of India’s Ambani family should be enough to scare any patriarch or matriarch into succession action. The sudden death of Reliance founder Dhirubhai Ambani, aged 69, in 2002 sparked an acrimonious battle between his two billionaire sons, Mukesh and Anil, leading to the brothers splitting up the family business in a deal mediated by their mother. Today relations are civil, but the businesses they inherited have had very different outcomes.

May 20, 2019

Ethically minded, technology savvy and eager to make a positive impact—the next generation are driving family offices’ movement into sustainable and impact investing. But are the expectation of returns realistic or are families just following a trend?

Sustainable and impact investing continue to be attractive for family offices and are among the fastest growing areas in the average family office investment portfolio. But uncertainty persists for many interested in the asset class, with fewer expert advisers compared to more traditional classes. 

Family offices increased their foray into sustainable investing over the past 12 months, with more than one-third (38%) now engaged in the practice, according to The Global Office Family Report 2018 (GFOR). 

April 25, 2019

How is one Chinese biotechnology group succeeding in supporting the earliest stage of new drug discovery when global pharmaceutical companies have given up? Dr Jun Mao, founder and chairwoman of Viva Ventures, explains how it leverages its in-house expertise to invest in hundreds of biotech startups in the $20 trillion global pharmaceutical and biotechnology market. 

Viva Ventures has a long history in supporting drug discovery for disease cures in China and the United States, can you explain more about the market opportunity?

April 22, 2019

London-based fourth-generation family office J Leon Group has overhauled its giving in the last decade. Paddy Walker, managing director, spoke to Alexandra Newlove about how the diverse giving portfolio—from stopping killer robots to challenging hate speech—has brought the family closer

The 18 charities supported by J Leon may seem disparate at first glance. But drill down a little and you find they align under five key areas informed by the family’s history, passion, and expertise.

In the noughties, Paddy Walker and Tania Slowe, joint managing directors and husband-wife team, executed two buy-backs, taking the number of shareholders from 140 to fewer than 20.

It was this, Walker says, which spurred the family to reassess its giving, as the family felt closer and it became easier to communicate.

April 16, 2019

Merck had been able to continually anticipate changes in the macro-environment and adapt itself

There are several things that family businesses can learn from the history of Merck.

Cohesion and continuity are the benefits of adherence to family values and tradition. Merck values of hard work, empathy, and striving for excellence were imbibed and inculcated across generations mainly through practice.

April 15, 2019

A trio of international family business academics reveal how a modest German pharmacy has evolved into a successful 12-generation dynasty complete with its own family university

A remarkable 350 years of steady growth and transformation—that’s what the German pharmaceuticals and chemicals company Merck has achieved since it opened its first pharmacy in Darmstadt, near Frankfurt, in 1668.

April 8, 2019

Dame Stephanie Shirley brought the same trailblazing zeal to philanthropy over the past quarter century as she did as an IT industry pioneer. She tells James Beech what she learned from starting and finishing charitable giving

How a philanthropist ends their legacy is just as important as how they start it. Just ask Dame Stephanie “Steve” Shirley CH, who at 85 and after decades of venture philanthropy is spending out her charitable Shirley Foundation while ensuring the good work continues.

February 26, 2019

Succession is one of the most widely-discussed issues in the family business realm, but it is still relatively newsworthy when a daughter—rather than a son—takes the reins. Alexandra Newlove explores the upsurge in women inheriting ownership and management

For more than half a century, 80-year-old Marchese Piero Antinori has been a driving force behind one of the world’s oldest family businesses—Italy’s Marchesi Antinori.

But the 26-generation wine dynasty nearly slipped out of family control in the 1980s, partly due to the fact that the Marchese had three daughters and no sons, and thus assumed he had no successor.

February 25, 2019

Hospitality is second nature to Lydia Forte, the award-winning hotel heiress who is taking her family business into the 21st century, as she explains to James Beech

Only 24 hours before Lydia Forte graciously accepted the CampdenFB Top Family Business Rising Star award on stage at the European Families in Business Awards in Madrid, she had put the finishing touches to her family’s new £3 million ($3.9 million) refurbishment in Edinburgh.

“I was at our Balmoral Hotel (pictured) where we had the first day of opening to the public of our new restaurant, which has been a long time in the making,” explains Forte, the group director of food and beverage at Rocco Forte Hotels. 

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