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The Top 100 Family Influencers – Financiers

Late last year, Family Capital sent out a survey to its readers asking them to nominate who they felt were the most influential individuals in the world of family enterprises. We were looking for a wide gambit of names from different backgrounds, both linked directly to family enterprises and those in an advisory role in the sector. We received more than 2000 responses. 

Through these responses and our own knowledge of the world of both family businesses and family office – indeed, the world of family capital – we were able to draw up a list of the Top 100 Influences. These are the individuals who our readers and Family Capital believe are the most influential people in the family enterprise world. No doubt some readers might think others merit inclusion and some on the list might not, but Family Capital believes the 100 names represent a pretty good cross-section of the Top Influencers in the sector. 

Given the length of the 100, we have broken them down into eight categories: Business Leaders; Lawyers; Executive Search; Consultants; Investors; Fictional Characters; Academics; and Financiers – which is our eight and final group to feature in our weekly series. We will release the entire list next week and distribute it as a PDF to all the winners soon afterwards.  

In alphabetical order

Evans family – D. L. Evans Bank

Mom-and-pop banks have for the most part disappeared in the US, but one that still fits the bill in all the best possible meanings of the phrase is D.L. Evans Bank. Based in Burley, Idaho, D.L. Evans Bank is now run by the fourth and fifth generations of the Evans family, with John V. Evans the bank’s current CEO, and seven members of the family sitting on the board. The family and the bank have made a virtue of its family business and community values – and the size of the bank today is anything but mom-and-pop. D.L. Evans Bank now has assets of $2 billion-plus with branches in neighbouring Utah and across Idaho. 

 

Gregory J. Fleming – Rockefeller Capital Management

Fleming isn’t a Rockefeller, but his role in reinvigorating the Rockefeller’s name in financial services should be recognised as a family influencer, as many those who nominated him agree. The Wall Street banker took the role of CEO at the newly formed Rockefeller Capital Management in 2017 and has done, by all accounts, a great job at building a wealth and asset management group on the back of the kudos around the Rockefeller name. Fleming has been hugely supported in that role by David Rockefeller, Jr., the chairman of Rockefeller & Company, which became RCM in 2018. 

 

Hoare family – C. Hoare & Co

C.Hoare & Co is the last of the venerable banks in the UK still owned by the original family who set it up in 1672, the Hoares. The board of the bank is mainly made up of members from the 11th and 12th generation of the family. Unlike pretty much the entire British banking establishment, C. Hoare & Co has made a virtual out of its family values of long term decision making, patience capital, and conservative banking practices. Those valued led to record growth in business during and after the financial crisis in 2008, when most other banks were struggling. It continues to be run on its family values that have proven so successful over so many years. It’s longevity and its trustworthy reputation are why many nominated the Hoare family to be one of the 100 Family Influencers. 

 

Li Family – Bank of East Asia

Less well-known outside of its base in Hong Kong, the Bank of East Asia is one of only two banks in the whole of China still family-owned. Overseen by the third-generation of the family owners, David Li, and his two sons, Adrian and Brian, the bank is still very much a family affair. David might have hit a rough patch in the last decade over allegations of insider trading, but the Li family continue to oversee a bank based on family values and stewardship, even as those values will be strained as Beijing’s influence in Hong Kong grows.  

 

Pictet family – Pictet & Cie

 

The Pictet banking group runs like a very smooth liner across the choppy seas of endless financial disruption, scandals, and fallouts. And the Geneva-based bank has been doing this for more than 200 years thanks a lot to the management of the Pictet family. Still involved in the bank today with Marc Pictet a member of the partner structure that has worked so well for the bank since its beginning. The bank’s senior partner, effectively its CEO, doesn’t have to be a family member, but the senior partner will be kept in check by the other partners ensuring that excessive CEO power and influence never gets out of control at the bank. And that culture, born out of the family owners, is a big part of Pictet’s continuing success.  

 

Rothschild family

Is there any greater banking dynasty than the Rothschilds? Is there any banking dynasty which continues to reinvent itself so successfully over so many years, indeed, centuries? The Rothschild financial dynasty must be one of the greatest family influencers in the world ever – that’s why members of the family appear in two other sections of the 100 Influencers list – Jacob Rothschild as an Investor and Benjamin de Rothschild as a Business Leader – as well as in this section represented this time as an entire family. Heralding from Mayer Amschel Rothschild in the 18th century, the ancestor of the entire Rothschild banking clan, who would bet against the family still playing a pivotal role in finance in 200 years time? 

Safra family

Arguably the greatest of the Sephardi Jewish banking dynasties, the Safra family continue to have considerable influence in the world of finance. Effectively, the dynasty now lies with Joseph Safra, the only remaining son of Jacob Safra – he had four. Joseph controlled the family conglomerate, the Safra Group, which many of the next gen of the extended family also work for. The financial part of the business is split into three parts, a big commercial bank in Brazil, and two private banks in New York and Switzerland. Finance runs in the family’s genes – Edmund, one of Joseph’s brothers, set up and ran the very successful Republic Bank of New York before selling it to HSBC shortly before his death in December 1999.

 

Sangle and Wiesmüller families – Bankhaus Spangler

Austria’s oldest bank, Bankaus Spangle, which dates back to the early nineteen century and is based in Salzburg, Austria, is controlled by two dynasties – the Spangler and Wiesmüller families – who are now in their seventh generation of control. The bank prides itself on its family connections and works with many of Austria’s family businesses. It was also an early backer of Dietrich Mateschitz, the Austrian businessmen who co-founded Red Bull.

 

Stephens family – Stephens Inc 

Stephens is unique because it is one of America’s most successful investment banks, but not based in Wall Street. Instead, Stephens home is Little Rock, Arkansas, and it has remained there largely because of the Stephens family who own the bank 100% and come from the state. At one level, Stephens is as ruthless as any Wall Street bank, but at another level, it remains true to its family and stakeholder values. CEO and chairman Warren Stephens, representing the third generation of the family who started the bank, has overseen huge growth in the bank’s fortunes. The bank has always liked family-run businesses – it backed Wal-Mart at a very early stage – and has done well on that ethos, as family businesses like banking with, surprise, surprise, a family-controlled one. 

 

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