N&Q: Banks, family businesses and lawsuits; family office appointment; family offices merger

Feuding family owners, a huge trust, and a bank

A feud between the family that owns one of Hong Kong’s biggest property groups has entered the public domain and implicated one of the city’s biggest banks, according to local media reports. Lo To Lee-kwan, the 97-year-old matriarch of Hong Kong property giant Great Eagle Holdings, has accused HSBC of “threatening” to take her to court. This is before she herself decided to sue the bank as a trustee of her family business, according to reports. HSBC manages a trust that in turn manages 42.7% of the HK$60 billion of the property group. The trust was created by Lo and her late husband 30 years ago, and had been “running smoothly for many years”, according to a statement by Lo. But some of Lo’s children - there are nine of them - want HSBC to continue to run the trust. A court hearing over control of the trust is due to take place at the end of July.

 

One of France’s biggest family offices recruits new senior manager

Tethys, the family office of the Bettencourt-Meyers family, which own L’Oreal, have appointed Blaise Duault as its new chief finance officer. Duault joins from French buyout specialist PAI Partners.

 

MFOs to merge

Two of Australia’s wealthiest families, the Myer and Baillieu families, plan to merge their wealth management businesses, according to local reports. The Myer family’s holding company Myer Family Investments and the Baillieu family’s Mutual Trust have announced a conditional agreement to combine Mutual Trust and the Myer family office known as MFCo. The deal will see MFI gain 35% of the enlarged group, becoming its largest single shareholder.