Thank You


    Note: By submitting this form you acknowledge that we may or may not publish your question on our website. If we do publish it we may rephrase it. Your identity will not be disclosed on our website.

    Hi David, <br /><br />I notice you provide family office support. I’m 3rd Gen family business and our wealth is substantial and well managed currently. I have heard of family offices but don’t really know if this is an option for us just yet. When is the right time to set up a family office?<br /><br />James
    <span>Hi James, <br /></span><br /><span>Thanks for your query. The objective of a family office is to manage the assets of ultra-high net wealth families as well as manage the day-to-day admin and management of the family group. </span><br /><br /><span>So the services include tax planning, estate planning, philanthropic ventures as well as assisting with lifestyle issues such as travel arrangements, education, and family governance.</span><br /><br /><span>The decision to start a family office or not can depend on many factors including:</span><br /><ul><li><strong>Using the Family office as a vehicle for family continuity:  </strong>The family office can foster a sense of community and family unity.</li><li><strong>Better Financial Control:</strong> They allow the family I to directly oversee decisions about family financial matters</li><li><strong>Objectivity in Decision-making: </strong>You have a dedicated, professional independent team working for you.<strong> </strong></li><li><strong>Customization of Services: </strong>You can customise exactly what your family wants the family office to provide.</li></ul><span>I hope that is helpful James. Don’t hesitate to call to discuss your specific needs.</span>

    Hi David,

    My brother and I are 2nd gen family business and cannot agree on a remuneration process for ourselves. How should we approach this as it is causing ongoing conflict in our family.


    Hi Eloise,

    Money and family is complex, adding the extra dynamic of business creates even more complexity. Trying to define what is “fair” can be very difficult and it not only affects family relationships but also how other employees view family members.

    The first thing I suggest is that you separate business equity from wage conversations. Remuneration for the job done needs to be clear. Consider industry benchmarks and ensure you have clear role descriptions for everyone ( both family and non-family). Having independent reviews and appraisals will also assist.

    The subject of remuneration does require open and honest communication. If those conversations become too heated I suggest getting an independent adviser such as members of the FINH team.

    Here is an article I published in Bauer Media on the subject of family business remuneration. I believe it will also help.

    Hi David

    We are a 4th generation family businesses. We are reasonably cohesive mainly due to some governance structures being put in place in recent years. The one thing we are struggling with though is getting the next generation engaged. They are becoming scattered all over the world with good education and careers.  I think that is the difference between our generation’s engagement and theirs, we stayed local because there weren’t too many other options.

    But I believe we need to get them to have buy-in for the long-term security of the family business. With holiday season approaching, we would like some of your thoughts on how other family businesses have done family businesses have done this successfully.


    Hi Michael,

    Firstly congratulations on the longevity of your family business – that is a wonderful achievement. You have a great advantage in having the governance structures in place so I would suggest you use those structures as a way of involving your next gen.

    Include them (rotating participation perhaps) in family meetings- skyping means it doesn’t matter where they are based, they can attend. Understand what they value and ensure those values are incorporated into the long-term planning of the business strategy. Many family businesses have used community based projects as a way of getting the next gen actively involved in the family business.

    Finally use technology and family gatherings to make sure the family business story is shared- how did it start, successes and failures, information about the founders. This is proving to be a very good indicator of family business success.  

    Here is an article I’ve written for Smart Company and from Campden FB on this subject.

    Three Tips for Bridging the Generation Gap

    Entrepreneurship- Tips for Nurturing the Next Gen

    Hi David,
    What are your comments on the evaluation on the role of succession planning on the survival of family businesses especially in Africa – Zimbabwe in particular?
    This is a question that the answer really does provide the reasons why “thoughtful” succession planning with a lot of premonition about the future is the KEY to the survival of family business. We refer to the survival of family business, as “Sustainability”.

    Have a look at this eBook recently completed by our sister company Insights, it is a really good female perspective on your very question, which we thank you for.
    Hi David,
    I’ve heard you talk before and found you very interesting. I’m 28 years old and have a full time job in the Ag industry. I come from a family property in NSW. We are currently working through a succession plan and we had an idea that I start to buy a small section of the place now. It’s a house and 600acres. This would give my parents a bit more cash flow and ease some debt and give me a manageable debt and equity due to it being serverely under valued. I was wondering what your opinion on this would be.

    Thank you for your help, and looking forward to hearing back from you.
    Hi Peter,
    It is pleasing to hear that your family are communicating and developing strategies to meet the liquidity needs of the 1st generation and the ownersip needs of the next generation.

    While your suggested solution may well be ideal for your family’s circumstances, I am concerned about the process taken to come to this proposed solution and how some short term solutions may not be in the best long term interests of sustainability.

    That is sustainability of the business/wealth and harmonious relationships across the entire family group.

    I’m happy to meet with your family to discuss this further as global research evidences that someone that is expert and independent in this process is necessary if only to cut through the normal emotions that can cloud family decision making.Some questions for you to consider;

    1. What about you siblings, assuming you are not an only child
    2. What happens to the free cash flow coming from the business now?
    3. Is the business economically viable in the future?
    4. What legacy do your parents want to leave
    5. Do your family communicate about how your generation will deal with the business when your parents are not capable of doing so?
    6. Do you have any formal family get together to discuss these issues?
    David, My grandparents own a large property in Qld. They have 5 children, some of which are fully involved in the farm, some of which are partially involved, and 1 who is not involved at all. I am currently concerned that my grandparents are reaching the age where it is essential to have a succession plan in place. After speaking with my parents, it has become apparent that none of the children have any idea what happens after they become too ill to work or pass away. As I am sure you have encountered before, the farm is my grandparent’s legacy, and it is run much more like a family, than a business. My grandparents are also very ‘stuck in their ways’, they don’t see that there will be any issues and believe that it will all work out fine. I am not sure how to even approach the subject of a succession plan with them. I am concerned that if something happens, the business could end up being eaten by legal and consultant’s fees. Brendan
    Brendan, this is becoming more the “new normal” as families in business become larger(across 3 – 4 generations) and people are living longer and healthier lives. Your grandparents own experience with transition may provide you some insight into how they may think about the looming succession issues. The difference is that the world, the business and your family are much more complex and valuable today. Like you they may also be thinking the same issues ….”what will happen when we are not around” and the risk is that they will see succession through the event of death only and think they have it covered by a legal process of estate planning (preparing a will and statement of wishes). I can say that succession planning is about a structured process over time and not merely managing an event. In this context it is also important to consider that succession in families occurs in three very distinct areas, not just ownership. You will see through our web site that we talk about;
    1. In the family from generation to the next (who is going to lead how will you communicate at a family level and at an investment level)
    2. In Ownership from operators to governors. This looks at family capital; how it is invested and who is involved in decision making. Many families fail to separate the decision making around the operations from the governance and the strategic decision making. Many family members can have successful careers outside the family business but still remain very much part of the family business through various governance roles.
    3. In Business from local to global. That is the business is an evolving process of succession and in particular how it remains relevant in a growing global economy.
    I suspect that your family has very little knowledge of what is available to help with this process and on that note I will be pleased to come and talk with you and in the meantime I suggest that you have a look around Log into the free access area to begin with and lets arrange to meet so I can assist you to get the conversation started with the right people in your family group at the right time.
    Dear David, I have a family of dentists whom I look after. Father, daughter and son. Tax sheltering and actual fees generated are different causing conflict between brother and sister. The patriarch for the moment is helping hold everything in line. I am wondering how best to handle this once his daughter and son succeed him. I am most concerned about the youngest son as he is of a choleric temperament which I find hard to reason with. Thanks, MT
    Thanks for that MT. This sounds like it is bound up in a lot of tension. I think we need to think not about the event of succession but the process and it is important that the process needs to start well before the event. To do this you need to think of all of the different roles i.e. Owners, Family and operators and start introducing some simple governance at each level. This helps separate the complexity of family business. The best place to start on this is at the family level. Have them all come together and go through what their beliefs are and goals for the future. This helps bring them together on some high level “values and beliefs”. The business may really revolve around what the father wants from it. This, of course, is his decision. The next step is finding out what each of the children expect. Is it already established that they wish to succeed him? The children may be perfectly satisfied to commence independent practices taking clients they already deal with. They may continue sharing resources – premises, support, equipment and hang their own shingles. I think trying to continue the same business honouring the father is likely to be the source of continuing dissatisfaction. Particularly when the goals and ambitions of the children’s partners are considered. For me, the question really is how long will the present arrangements survive? Then, the question becomes – how do we best take care of the needs and wants of the new generation?
    Dear David, If the family do not think that they have a problem i.e. say that we are all just stressed/tired/no time what are some good clues to start the process of making a plan.
    Dear “Right Time”, This is a great question because it is always the difficulty – how to engage ALL of the family. It is important to tell them that while they are all thinking it is ok, it is actually the time to start talking so they can come together and communicate about the things that are working in the context of planning for the future. Once you get off on a positive footing and they are communicating in a structured way (Governance at the different levels), it better positions them for dealing with unforeseen problems in the future.
    Dear David, Can you recommend any good books that outline the issues and strategies in simple terms clients can understand? I have a couple but they are from my perspective as adviser and quite technical.
    Dear “Ready To Learn”, Yes there are a whole lot of resources. Firstly the best is This has a great deal of short videos and material to help families to go from not knowing what they need to know about succession to knowing what they do not know. We also have our global partner that writes a book called “Family Wealth Sustainability Toolkit”. Soon we will launch a great tool you can use called a “Family Constitution”. This helps with the process as well. The Cleardocs Family Constitution will be available at the end of December, just google Cleardocs to source it. Of course we are always happy to work with you and your client. Our contact details are at the end of this document.
    Dear David, Governance is a difficult term for lay people. Any idea of a simpler way to describe what it means? For example, how to spell it out?
    Dear “Let’s Simplify”, Yes. Think of “Government”, “Govern”. Therefore it is the structure and policies not for Government but for a Family in Business. Alternatively, for the business you have an advisory board and a board, but for the family you have a “Family Council”. All of these are part of a Governance model.