Close Brothers close in on family businesses with new club

A new club aiming to give family business owners and advisers the opportunity to discuss their main issues and challenges in a private context has been launched.

Close Brothers Asset Management, which in October published research about Scotland’s oldest family businesses, launched the Family Business Club to organise seminars and meetings to give family business owners and managers, as well as their advisers, the chance to share their experiences.

‘Family businesses are essential for the British economy and yet they don’t get as much appreciation as they would deserve,’ Penny Lovell, head of private client services at Close Brothers Asset Management, told Spear’s.

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‘We wanted to create a forum where family business owners, advisers and finance directors could discuss topics that are relevant to them, including finance, the next-generation, succession, management and the selling of the business. We want to find out what financial firms like Close Brothers can do to support them.’

The first event will be a one-day seminar on values, governance and sustainability. Called the Great British Family Business, it will be organised together with Family Business United and will take place at the May Fair Hotel on 4 March.

There is a smart element of positioning in establishing the club: it is intended to help Close Brothers retain some of its wealthiest clients – 60 per cent of its high net worth division’s clients are family business owners, according to Lovell – and attract more.

The club follows the success of a group that Close Brothers opened on professional social media LinkedIn. The Family Business Insight Group, which now counts 400 members, allows family business members to communicate directly with each other and with the Close Brothers’ staff.

There are three million family businesses in the UK, according to the Institute for Family Business, a lobby group. They account for two-thirds of firms in the country’s private sector and provide 40 per cent of its jobs and 35 per cent of its turnover.