Erich Schmidt is re-housing his family office in a big office
Erich Schmidt, the executive chairman of Alphabet Inc, and his wife Wendy, are building a new office block for their family office Hillspire and various philanthropic foundations. The new 25,000 “ultra-green” office is to be built in Menlo Park in the San Francisco Bay Area. Schmidt has a fortune estimated by Forbes at $10 billion, making him the 100 wealthiest person in the world. How many people are going to be working for his family office? He’s not saying. But with an average of one person per 200 square foot the norm, that’s probably around 125 people likely to be based in the new office. Taking out the employees for the Schmidts various foundations, could that be a staff of at least 50 for his family office? It so, that’s a big family office.
Carlos Slim brings the third generation into his business empire
The world’s fifth wealthiest person, according to Forbes, has appointed two of his grandchildren to board positions at two of his companies. Daniel Hajj Slim and Rodrigo Hajj Slim now sit on board of Minera Frisco, a mining company in which Slim owns an 80% stake, and the board of Soinmob Inmobiliaria Espanola, a Spanish real estate business also own by Slim. Both in their early twenties, Daniel and Rodrigo are the sons of Slim’s eldest daughter, Vanessa, and Daniel Hajj, chief executive of América Móvil, the huge telecoms and TV group owned by Slim. It’s not sure whether Daniel and Rodrigo gained any outside experience before joining the business empire.
Harvard continues with its great, but pricy, family business courses
Arguably the world’s most famous business school continues to offer some great family business courses, including its well respected annual Families in Business five day course. Another one is its Leading and Transforming Family Businesses, China course and involves a tie up with Saïd Business School of Oxford University and the Guanghua School of Management at Peking University.
But neither course comes cheap. The families in business one costs $42,000 for teams of up to four with each additional person costing another $10,000. The China course costs $45,000, but it’s between March and July in 2017, so much longer. No doubt the courses represent money well spent, from not just the perspective of the knowledge gained from the classes, but also the very good networking opportunities each course will provide. After all, Harvard just might have educated more business leaders than any university in the world - and many of them lead hugely successful family businesses.
The wealthy like private equity and European public equities
The wealthy reckon that private equity will be the best-performing asset class in 2016, according to JP Morgan Private Bank. In its annual private client survey, European equities are expected to outperform US equities. Last year, public equities were favoured over private equity markets. The private bank canvassed the opinion of 800 high net worth individuals around the world. Nevertheless, what their opinions mean to the future performance of asset classes remains to be seen. But given that these types of surveys tend to be a lagging indicator - probably very little...