I am a Consultant at WJM and advise business families on governance and succession issues.
I help families in business work together to achieve a successful succession.
This may for example involve the next generation taking over the business, or the business remaining family owned but not family run, or the business being sold into employee ownership.
I also advise on governance issues such as board composition and how to regulate the relationship among the board, owners and wider family, and tax issues such as capital gains tax planning, inheritance tax planning and extracting cash from the business.
My recent work has been with families who are transferring long-established family businesses from the third to the fourth generation. By the time a family reaches this stage, the key question is “Do we still want to be a family in business together?” This question, coupled with the trend towards smaller families meaning a smaller pool of ‘family’ to own and manage the family business, has led to different outcomes for different families.
One client family has taken nearly two years to decide they no longer want to be a family in business together. My work with the family is now to help them decide whether one branch of the family should take over and the other branch exit or whether the family should sell the business.
Another client family explored whether they wanted to continue together as a family owned, but not family managed, business, but have moved forward with a decision to sell. The key question for this family now is whether to sell to their employees, possibly at a discount, to keep the business in its current location so saving local jobs, or to seek to maximise their return with a trade sale to a competitor which may see the business close and move.