Notable & Quotable: Family dynastic changes; family offices compete with PE firms...

Moving up in the family dynasty

The Maersk family have moved to tighten their control over one of the world’s biggest shipping groups and family businesses, A.P. Moller–Maersk Group. Robert Maersk Uggla, the great grandson of the founder of the Danish group, has been given the job of chief executive of the family-controlled holding group, A.P. Moller Holding. Uggla replaces a non-family CEO and will work with his mother and chairwoman of the holding group, Ane Maersk Mc-Kinney Uggla. A.P. Moller Holding owns 41.5% of shares and 51% of voting rights in the listed company A.P. Moller-Maersk. Last year, the shipping group had revenues of $40.3 billion, making it among the top 25 biggest family-controlled groups in the world in terms of revenue.

 

Family offices are giving private equity firms a run for their money

Further evidence that family offices are doing direct deals was provided by a recent Bloomberg article on the trillions up for grabs in direct deal making. The article said many wealthy families, usually through their family offices, are acting like private equity groups, buying large stakes in companies, or buying them completely. And that’s placed them in competition with private equity groups, which are raising their game to offset families going elsewhere. So far, there appears to be enough deals out there to keep everyone happy.

 

Financial firms target the wealthy with family history

In the hugely competitive world of wealth management, financial firms are coming up with new ideas to attract and keep clients, with the latest concept centred on documenting family histories. According to the Wall Street Journal, wealth managers are increasingly offering professional biographical films and genealogy services as a way to interact with different generations in a family. And, no doubt, a way of enhancing their services. The article quoted one wealth manager as saying that families often express interest in these services when there is a milestone, like a business succession. Families like the idea of passing on the family history in a film format to the next generation as it helps to pass on the values and beliefs of the family, said the piece. Such a service could be very useful for family businesses, which often talk a lot about their values and beliefs.  

 

Advice for the next gen when working in the family firm

The next generation aren’t lacking advice when it comes to working in the family firm, but a recent article in the Harvard Business Review might clarify some issues around the challenge of coming into the business. The article reckons that the best advice for the next gen is to keep it professional when working for the family firm. But one suggestion seemed to make the best sense, and that is having a plan B if things don’t work out. As one of the analysts quoted in the piece said: “When a family member gets fired, they feel they’ve been fired from what they were born to be.” That can be difficult to take, so having an alternative job strategy might be a smart plan.