Family-owned businesses flourishing in Kingdom

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Updated 12 April 2016

Family-owned businesses flourishing in Kingdom

JEDDAH: Family businesses will grow further and flourish in the Kingdom, says a top Saudi industrialist.

Anees Ahmed Moumina, CEO of SEDCO Holding Group, expressed this optimism on the sidelines of the Family Owned Business Forum at the Jeddah Hilton on Monday.
The most important element of family business is corporate governance and this forum talks about this issue, Moumina told Arab News.
Eihab H. Abou-Rokbah, chairman of Arabian Mehad Excellence (AME) and the driving force behind the forum, said family businesses have always been there. “The good thing is that they adapt to changes better than the companies not owned by families.”
The chairman added: “I do really believe family businesses should have strong management and financial foundations. With these two, there is no doubt about solid growth. And if family businesses have good corporate governance in place, then they will sustain for a very long time."
Mark Goyder, founder director of Tomorrow’s Company, said a number of family business owners and people from each generation could benefit from the deliberations.
“There was valuable discussion where we talked about the principles of corporate stewardship. The discussion also focused on how the younger generation learns the tools of the trade. The workshop explored how to preserve the values in a dynamic market,” Goyder said.
Tarek Alnabulsi, managing partner of Institutional Sustainable Growth (ISG), said the participants at the forum shared their experience and focused on succession planning.
He said family businesses represent 90 percent of the enterprises in Saudi Arabia. So sustainability of these businesses is very important for the Saudi economy.
The key challenge facing the family businesses is succession planning, he said, adding that family businesses in Saudi Arabia will continue to show better performance than other companies globally.
He said there are some challenges facing family businesses in Saudi Arabia. “Entrepreneurship is very important in family businesses,” he said.
Adib Haroun Rashid, Ernst & Young’s MENA family business centre of excellence leader, said: “Ernst & Young created the family business center of excellence to focus on issues facing family businesses and how their families can deal with those issues. When we looked at the issues, we found common themes that successful families have done to ensure successful transition between generations.”
According to him, the first and foremost is to set up proper governance rules that enable family members to have clear roles and responsibilities, and segregate business and family issues.
This will help create forums for dealing with family topics outside the business and also establish clear communication channels related to business and family issues.
“The second issue is related to succession. We found that around $1.6 trillion will change hands from one generation to the other over the next 10 years globally,” he said.
Accordingly, a clear succession plan for ownership and management is needed to be put forward in order to ensure smooth transition between generations and ensure continuity of business.
Adib said in Saudi Arabia, the family businesses will continue to contribute to the economy even during the transitional phases between generations.
“They thus need to start planning on succession and proper governance structures to ensure the continuity of their businesses and the unity of the family,” he added.


Julius Baer ordered to pay $162m over vanished East German cash

In this file photo taken on February 05, 2010 a man walks past the logo of the Swiss bank Julius Baer group at the headquarters in Zurich. (AFP)
Updated 1 min 4 sec ago

Julius Baer ordered to pay $162m over vanished East German cash

  • The Zurich-based bank has been fighting a long running legal battle against the payment, but Switzerland’s highest court has now given its final decision, ordering Julius Baer to pay 150 million francs

ZURICH: Swiss private bank Julius Baer could seek to recoup 150 million Swiss francs ($162 million) from UBS after it was ordered on Friday to repay the German government over millions in East German cash that vanished after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
The German government has been seeking money that it says was illegally transferred out of East Germany when the communist regime collapsed.
At that time, large sums were moved from an East German foreign trade company to foreign banks, so the money could not be seized by a reunified Germany.
For more than 20 years the Federal Agency for Special Tasks (BvS) has been searching for the money which has since been withdrawn from the banks.
The agency has also been seeking to make banks involved liable for not preventing these withdrawals.
Julius Baer became involved due its acquisition of the former Swiss Bank Cantrade, which it picked up in 2005 when it bought Bank Ehinger & Armand von Ernst Ltd. from rival Swiss lender UBS.
The matter is related to unauthorized withdrawals between 1990 and 1992 from a Cantrade account of a foreign trade company established in East Germany, Julius Baer said on Friday.

BACKGROUND

German authorities have been trying to recover funds that were allegedly transferred out of East Germany illegally when the communist regime collapsed in 1990.

The Zurich-based bank has been fighting a long running legal battle against the payment, but Switzerland’s highest court has now given its final decision, ordering Julius Baer to pay 150 million francs.
BvS was not immediately available for comment on the decision.
The payment, which includes interest, is fully covered by a provision Julius Baer booked in December 2019, the Swiss bank said.
Julius Baer said it will notify UBS of the final ruling. It previously said it would pursue Switzerland’s biggest bank for payment under the warranties agreed when it acquired Bank Ehinger & Armand von Ernst from it. UBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment.