Family bank offers advice to family businesses

| 02/10/2008

(CNS):  Designed to offer solutions to the challenges faced by many family business owners in Cayman, the Chamber of Commerce Professional Development & Training Centre in partnership with RBS Coutts, held its first Family Business Forum this week. Having started life as a family business, and having looked after many business owners and their families over the years, Coutts was well placed to offer advice.

Regardless of size, all family businesses face significant challenges of continuity, longevity andultimately success. According to research statistics, only one in three family businesses succeed in making it from the first to the second generation. In fact, 70 percent of family-owned businesses do not survive the transition from founder to the second generation. An astounding 90 percent of family-owned businesses do not make it to the third generation.

Held on Tuesday, 30 September at the Grand Cayman Beach Suites Annette Rahael, Certified Family Business Advisor was the keynote speaker at the forum. With what was described by the Chamber as a profound understanding of the commercial realities faced by businesses of all sizes Rahael highlighted the importance of starting business succession planning early, to look at family members realistically to train successors.

 With family businesses, succession planning can be especially complicated because of the relationships and emotions involved, hence the sooner you start your business succession planning the better,” she said. “If you want to pass your family business along to the next generation, putting off succession planning is the worst thing you can do. A good succession plan can ensure that you have the funds you need to retire and that the business you have built continues to thrive in the hands of the next generation.”

She said opening a dialogue among family members is the best way to begin the process where close attention is paid to the personal feelings, ambitions and goals of everyone concerned.

“You may want your first-born son to run the business, but does he have the business skills or even the interest to do it? Perhaps there’s another family member who is more capable. It may even be that there are no family members capable of or interested in continuing the business and that it would be best to sell it,” she added.

RBS Coutts in the UK have successfully launched a Family Business Owners initiative and the firm said it would like to offer a similar service to the Caribbean.

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