17 October 2013

Burges Salmon has participated in an event organised by Insider South West magazine to discuss a number of key issues on the topic of succession planning for family owned businesses.

One of the key areas debated at the event, which was sponsored by Burges Salmon, was the steps that can be taken to produce and document a succession plan for a family owned business. As a starting point, business families should consider all of the options available to them. Having decided that succession is the right course, it is important that the plan needs to be tailored to the individual business and family's needs.

How to incentivise non-family directors was also discussed. Despite a common perception that it is inappropriate for family owned businesses to give equity to non-family members, these businesses should not completely dismiss this as a possibility. Shares can be limited in various ways, for example by restricting the number of shares that can be issued, by making them non-voting, or having a claw back when an employee leaves. A number of alternatives to equity incentives were also discussed at the meeting.

Speaking at the event at Weston-Super-Mare's Grand Pier were Mimi Avery (brand ambassador, Averys) and Janis Sinton (managing director, TasteTech), who were joined by Doug Streatfeild-James (senior associate, Burges Salmon), Paul Hake (partner, Albert Goodman) and Richard Watkins (certified financial planner, Close Brothers) to form a panel that discussed various issues in response to questions from the chairman of the meeting and from the audience. Over 50 owners, directors and senior managers from a range of businesses attended the event.

Doug Streatfeild-James, representing Burges Salmon's Family Business team, said: “We were pleased both to sponsor and take part in this event, which focused on some of the most important issues for family owned businesses such as succession planning, incentivising staff, and the effects that separation, divorce and ill health can have on these businesses.'

Burges Salmon's Family Business team is well placed to understand the unique personal and commercial challenges faced by these businesses. Its specialist team of highly experienced lawyers, drawn from a variety of disciplines, is dedicated to advising family businesses of all sizes across a range of sectors.

Combining Burges Salmon's acknowledged strengths as a leading legal adviser on private client and commercial issues, the team regularly advises on matters including succession planning, business structuring and strategy, succession planning, asset protection, wealth preservation tax structuring, employment issues and employee incentives. The team's family business clients range from first generation start-ups to an eighth generation company with international interests.

Key contact

Douglas James-Streatfield

Douglas Streatfeild-James Senior Associate

  • Corporate
  • Family Business
  • Private Wealth

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