Successful Family Business

 The Triggers

Are you like most successful family businesses? First it was a converted garage or similar, then a shared space, then your own space. Next came all the extra administrative tasks and pretty soon you can only get your core business done after-hours or on weekends. 

Growth is good. Unsustainable growth is a success killer. 

By trying to retain control over every aspect of your family and your business, working extraordinary hours and requiring each and every item be signed off by you, the business suffers. 

Instead, establish a formal corporate structure including an advisory committee of external financial, management and governance professionals. Consider a cage rattler to ask the hard questions about business performance 

Governance roles are often blurred in family business. Establishing a formal structure frees you to concentrate on working on the business – building relationships, winning contracts and nurturing your young colleagues and family members. 

As sustainable growth is achieved you may see the advisory committee evolve into a Board of Directors and as more success comes your way you can appoint an independent Chairperson and/or non-executive director. 

This gives you a sounding board and an opportunity to run ideas or concerns past a clever, independent mind. Especially useful for delicate people-related issues. 

Board meetings keep you accountable to your strategic plan, week to week and month to month. Effective boards ensure things get done, provide a forum through which you can discuss the merits of opportunities that present themselves. You may not always agree with the outcome of board discussions, but you can take solace in the fact that such thorough discussion and robust process protects your business from rash and costly decisions. 

Board meetings provide a forum through which difficult issues can be raised. This facilitates an objective viewpoint and allows you to explore solutions from a commercial perspective without things getting personal. This can be an invaluable tool for family and closely-held businesses. 

The ultimate benefit? You can bring these same principles, structures and disciplines to your clients’ businesses to support their sustainable growth. 

 The Next Level

As your growth achieves your desired outcomes there will likely be events that get you thinking about taking your Family Office function to the next level. 

Your thoughts may turn to items such as:

  • Ensuring wealth is transferred to future generations 
  • Growing family wealth to accommodate expanding generations 
  • Consolidating assets
  • Separating family wealth from operating business
  • Sudden influx of liquidity
  • Resolving family conflicts
  • Centralised risk, reporting & management
  • Philanthropic coordination
  • Changes in family structure

Families are vastly different, but almost all are startlingly similar in their desire to ensure smooth intergenerational transfer of wealth and reduce intrafamily disputes. 

Key outcomes from further developing your family include: 

 Education 

One of the key roles of a Family Office is to be an educator and mentor, preparing owners to be responsible. 

Confidentiality of Information 

Family Offices provide tight protection for the family’s privacy and security of financial information. 

Continuity of the Family 

Many families rely on the Family Office to foster a sense of community and family unity over time. 

Coordination of Advisors 

The Family Office serves as a conductor, coordinating the expertise and talents of many external advisors 

Wealth Strategy 

A core purpose of the Family Office is developing an integrated wealth strategy and coordinating wealth transfer, tax planning, and investment considerations. Ultimately, one of its key roles is to be an integrator of financial strategies. 

Intergenerational Alignment 

Family Offices help families understand and capture the benefits of shared ownership by assessing the impact of each decision on individual and family goals. 

Coordination of Trust Responsibilities 

The Family Office provides invaluable services in helping trustees successfully assume their responsibilities in administering family trusts and educating the beneficiaries. 

What other's say

How has family office helped others? We took a few key points raised by attendees from world class family office conferences held over the past year to share with you. 

“A platform to communicate amongst the family, it creates a framework in which the family can navigate. It creates a plain level field, for all members in the family, and it defines expectations also, and irons out any potential conflicts. We encourage families to look at three angles, the family governance angle, investment governance angle, and the operational governance angle.” - Gregorie Imfeld, Head of Family Office, Pictet Wealth Management 

“When families move toward becoming more financial managers, they should be as professional and as successful as they have been in their business, which means putting the right governance structures in place, putting up the right investment organisation in place, I think that’s absolutely key.” - Rudolf Hauser, Senior Investment Manager, Pictet Wealth Management 

With large amounts of wealth at stake, and close personal ties to the family structure, Family Office services are invaluable to ensuring enduring family success. 

Talk to an expert

Kelly + Partners would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Vanessa Sirotic, Client Director – Business and Family Office Services. 

A skilled independent family office advisor, Vanessa understands that family’s story is an important asset that is made up of human, intellectual and financial capital. Each family story is vastly different, but startlingly similar in their desire to ensure smooth intergenerational transfer of wealth. Recognising that succession is an ongoing process, best effected through a thoughtful and intentional transition, Vanessa has successfully facilitated significant family leadership transitions. 


Vanessa Sirotic CA, B.BUS (ACC), B.SC 

Client Director – Business and Family Office Services 

vanessa.sirotic@kellypartners.com.au