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Kin in the game

PwC Family Business Survey

We’ve talked to more than

1,600 family-business
owners and managers
to discover how you’re
dealing with the economic
downturn, what chal-
lenges you’re facing and
how you’re preparing for
the future.

PwC Family Business Survey

Foreword 2

Fending off challenges and investing in the future 4

Handing over the reins 18

Falling out and making up 28

Dealing with regulation and creating value for society 34

What we’ve learned 40

Appendix: Methodology and survey population 42

Contacts 48

PwC Family Business Survey


When world-famous investor Warren Buffett

coined the expression ‘skin in the game’, he was
referring to executives who use their own money
to buy shares in the companies they’re running.
In all family firms, the founding family has a
significant stake in the business and one or more
relatives – or ‘kin’ – hold senior management
positions. The title of our second global Family
Business Survey reflects this duality. Family
firms have both ‘skin’ and ‘kin’ in the game.
The same concept underlies the well-known
model of the family business as three
overlapping circles: the company, the owners
and the family (see Figure 1). The model shows
the range of interests that exist, and where they
intersect or diverge. It demonstrates how the
perspectives of the different parties depend on
where they stand within the three circles as
much as they do on the personalities of the
people involved.

2 PwC Family Business Survey

It also illustrates how the family The most successful family firms are fairly, regardless of whether they work
dynamics colour the business itself. If those in which there’s a good balance for the company. Professional wealth
there’s unhealthy conflict between the between the three circles, with management enables a family to
family members, it will spill over into professional management, responsible spread its risk and manage its other
the way the business is managed and business ownership and a harmonious investments as effectively as possible,
owned – whether that’s through family dynamic. Such companies tend thereby helping to preserve a healthy
disputes over money, charges of to have clear written agreements about family dynamic.
nepotism or infighting over who the composition and election of senior
should head the business when it executives, the decisions that require a In short, in the best, most enduring
passes from one generation to the next. majority vote and the conditions in family firms there are clear boundaries
Conversely, if relations within the which family members can (or can’t) between the business, the owners and
family are healthy, the business is more work in the business. They also have the family, with separate forums for
likely to be healthy, too. Solid, robust governance procedures; bring discussion of ownership and family
mutually supportive bonds help to in outside directors and managers, matters outside the boardroom. And
encourage loyalty to the company, where necessary; and monitor the there is separate financial provision,
make people more motivated and performance of relatives who are wherever feasible, for heirs who don’t
facilitate decision-making – qualities working for the business, just as they work in the business. This is
that mean the business itself is better do the performance of outside particularly important when economic
equipped to deliver strong results. directors and managers. conditions are difficult, as they are for
many companies right now.
Figure 1: Family firms are often Ownership issues are likewise
depicted as a set of three separated from family issues. The most We’ve talked to more than 1,600
intersecting circles long-lasting family firms typically have family-business owners and managers
rules about how shares can (or can’t) in 35 countries in the course of
be traded inside and outside the completing our survey – the largest of
family, and when shares can be sold – its kind ever to be conducted. We
Business be it to raise fresh capital for the wanted to discover how you’re coping
3 business or to release cash for the with the economic downturn, what
1 2 family members. In other words, they challenges you’re facing and how
7/8 provide solid mechanisms for ensuring you’re preparing for the future. We
4 6 the business has enough funds to grow also thought that you would welcome
while maintaining the family’s control. the opportunity to compare your own
5 experience with those of your peers
Lastly, in such firms, the needs of the around the world and find out what
Family family itself are given due weight. they’re doing to thrive. Our survey
When most of the family’s financial aims to identify the issues that most
resources are tied up in the company, it concern you and your family firm. We
1. External investors may be reluctant to take risks that hope that you’ll find the results
2. Management and employees might actually be good for the illuminating – and that they will help
3. Owner managers
4. Inactive or passive owners business. It may also have insufficient you in running your business.
5. Family assets to treat all the family members
6. Family employees
7. Working family owners
8. Family, owner and business leader(s)/ ‘controlling

Norbert Winkeljohann Jacques Lesieur

Member of PwC’s Project Owner
Network Leadership Team PwC Family Business Survey

PwC Family Business Survey 3

Fending off challenges and
investing in the future

4 PwC Family Business Survey

We asked you to tell us about the challenges
you’re dealing with, and where you’re investing.
Nearly half the executives we spoke to said
demand for their companies’ products and
services has grown during the past 12 months.
But the recession has exacted a high price. More
than a third of all respondents reported that
operating profits had fallen, and more than two-
thirds are worried about market conditions – up
from less than half three years ago. Even so,
relatively few companies have retrenched.
Indeed, many plan to expand over the next
12 months.
Most family-business managers believe they are
well-placed to capitalise on any new
opportunities. Three-quarters say that they have
business plans and two-thirds that they have
access to additional cash, should they need it
– although the vast majority would have to
borrow the money. Many people also envisage
returning to ‘business as before’. Only 14% have
made major changes to their business models
over the past 12 months, and only 13% plan on
doing so in the future. Nevertheless, almost
everyone is confident about being able to
compete effectively.

PwC Family Business Survey 5

In 2007, when we completed our first remain. So how have family firms methodology and survey population,
global Family Business Survey, there fared during this period of economic please see the Appendix). An
were few signs of the financial crisis turbulence? impressive 48% of the total sample
that was about to occur. The recession report that demand for their products
wrought carnage on numerous Our second global Family Business or services has grown during the past
companies and, though the worst now Survey shows that many family firms 12 months, and 16% report that it’s
seems to be over, fears of a ‘double dip’ have prospered. (For details of our grown substantially (see Figure 2).

However, the recession has certainly

taken its toll. In 2007, only 10% of the
companies we covered had
Figure 2: A surprisingly large number of companies have seen demand for experienced a reduction in demand for
their offerings increase during the past 12 months their products or services. Today, the
figure is 34%. Construction companies
Significant growth 16 have been especially hard hit; 22%
have experienced a significant
48 reduction in demand, compared with
the overall average of 14%.
Modest growth 32

No change compared
to previous 12 months

A modest reduction
compared to previous 20 34
12 months

A significant
reduction compared 14
to previous 12 months

% 0 10 20 30 40 50
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

What is a family business?

A family business is an enterprise in which the majority of the votes are
held by the person who established or acquired the firm (or by his or her
spouse, parents, children or children’s direct heirs); at least one
representative of the family is involved in the management or
administration of the firm; and, where the company is listed, the person
who established or acquired the firm (or his or her family) possesses 25% of
the voting rights through his or her share capital and at least one family
member sits on the board.

6 PwC Family Business Survey

The number of companies reporting an those with revenues of less than 50 Only 32% of all companies have
increase in operating profits over the million euros) bearing the brunt of the increased their capital expenditure
past 12 months has also dropped from contraction (see Figure 3). Capital over the last year, compared with 50%
57% to 42%, with smaller firms (i.e., investment has fallen commensurately. in 2007.

Predictably, perhaps, companies based

in the emerging markets have done
best, reflecting the speed at which
these economies are expanding.
Twenty-nine percent have enjoyed
significant growth and 50% have seen
Figure 3: Operating profits and capital expenditure are down their operating profits rise, a
from earlier levels performance that enabled 48% of
them to lift their capital spending.

But surprisingly few firms have
Increased decided to retrench. Although 68% of
42 the companies that have experienced
declining demand for their products
and services in the past 12 months saw
42 their operating profits shrink, only
Remained the
40% have cut back on the amount they
same 22 invest in the business. The remaining
28% have clearly chosen to put
long-term growth before short-term
25 gains (see Figure 4).

Don't know/ 1 Capital expenditure

Refused Operating profit

% 0 10 20 30 40 50

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

PwC Family Business Survey 7

Of course, family firms are better Figure 4: Marked differences exist between the companies that have grown
placed to take the long view than their and the companies that have shrunk
listed counterparts because they’re
under less pressure to deliver quarterly Companies experiencing Companies experiencing
results and pay dividends to growth in demand decline in demand
shareholders, and rarely burden 18
themselves with the same levels of Increased
debt. They tend to be more careful
about overstretching themselves, and 40 41
they’re often underpinned by the the same 22 16
values of the founding family, as
distinct from being managed as purely 16 40
commercial concerns. So they can Decreased
weather storms that overturn larger
and more aggressively managed 1 1 Capital expenditure
operations. Don't know 1 1 Operating profit

This may be one of the reasons why % 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 % 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100

two-thirds of the people we spoke to Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11
believe that being part of a family
business has helped them cope with
the recession (see Figure 5). It may also
explain why many of them are
relatively confident about the future. Figure 5: Most executives think being part of a family business has helped
Sixty percent – rising to 69% in larger them cope with the economic slump
firms – intend to expand their
businesses over the next 12 months.
Similarly, 56% are positive about how Agree strongly 34
the markets where they do business
will perform over the next year, which
is broadly in line with the situation in Agree 33
2007 (see Figure 6).
Neither agree nor

Disagree 7

Disagree strongly 4

Don't know 2

% 0 10 20 30 40 50
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

8 PwC Family Business Survey

Figure 6: Many people are positive about the immediate outlook Moreover, many of the family firms in
our survey claim they have both a
business strategy and enough financial
Get a lot better 12
resources to capitalise on any
opportunities that emerge. A full 77%
have business plans, and the vast
Get a little better 44 majority of these companies have
reviewed or updated their plans within
Stay the same 25 the past 12 months (see Figure 7).
Larger companies are particularly
well-prepared; 87% have proper
Get a little worse 15
business strategies in place.
Get a lot worse 3 Two-thirds of the managers we talked
to also say they have access to
Don't know/
1 additional cash, if they need it to
Can't remember realise their goals. Only 21% told us
that their cash flows are restricted and
only 12% that there’s nothing left in
% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
the coffers, although larger companies
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11
are less likely to be suffering from cash
flow constraints than smaller ones.

Figure 7: Most companies with business plans have recently reviewed them That said, many executives clearly
envisage returning to ‘business as
In the last 6 before’. Only 14% have made
months 57 significant changes to their business
85 models over the past 12 months, while
In the last year 28 26% percent have made minor
modifications and 59% have left their
business models untouched (see
1-2 years ago 7
Figure 8). Ironically, family-business
owners based in the emerging markets
More than 2
years ago 5 are the most likely to have made major
changes, whereas those based in North
Other 2
America – where the financial crisis
originated – are more likely to have
Don't know/ made tweaks. A substantial 56% of
Can't remember 1 respondents also expect to keep using
the same business models in future,
% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 regardless of the upheaval the crisis
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11 has caused (see Figure 9).

“The strength of our balance

sheet and our conservative
approach to business have served
us well”
British executive

PwC Family Business Survey 9

This seems rather short-sighted. Some Figure 8: Most companies haven’t changed their business models
of the companies that have recently
reviewed their business plans may Yes, changed it
indeed be well-equipped to survive in significantly
volatile economic conditions, with Yes, made minor
robust business models that don’t need changes 26
to be altered. But others may be more
vulnerable, given that the mature No, didn’t make
any changes 59
economies are now experiencing an
‘era of austerity’ which could last a long Don't know/ 1
time. Taxes are rising, as the Refused
governments of the industrialised 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
world struggle to repair public finances
deeply damaged by the debts they Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11
accrued in managing the recession1.
And with less money in their wallets,
consumers are cutting back on their
household expenditure2. Figure 9: Most executives don’t plan to change their business models in the
near future

Yes, anticipate major

Yes, anticipate minor
No, don't anticipate
any changes

Don't know 1

% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

10 PwC Family Business Survey

What’s more, even though two-thirds the funds. Only 14% could manage rest would have to resort to overdrafts,
of respondents told us their companies their short-term financing needs via bank loans and other forms of debt or
have access to additional cash, closer invoice discounting (i.e., getting faster simply don’t know how they would
examination shows that the vast access to income they’ve already raise the capital (see Figure 10).
majority of them would have to borrow earned but haven’t yet been paid). The
However, some firms may find it
harder than they expect to get credit.
Under the new Basel III Accord
designed to strengthen the financial
services sector, the amount of capital
Figure 10: Most companies would have to borrow the money, if they needed banks are required to hold will rise
additional short-term cash from 2% of their loans and
investments to 7%. The agreement,
Overdraft 38 which is due to take effect in 2013 and
be phased in over several years, is
widely expected to drive up the price
Variable bank of credit and reduce the amount that’s
debt available3. The many family firms that
have never previously been burdened
Fixed-term with debt facilities and covenant
bank debt restrictions would also have another
set of stakeholders to manage, as well
Commercial as facing new pressures which could
paper compound any existing emotional

discounting 14

Don’t manage
funding needs 11


% 0 10 20 30 40 50

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

“The banks are making it more

difficult to get loans these days”
Cypriot executive

PwC Family Business Survey 11

Yet, despite these difficulties, 95% of the design and quality of their on product quality and branding than
family-business managers are products, the strength of their brands on customer loyalty, recognising that
somewhat or very confident that their and their ability to retain customers – differentiation is critical in an era of
companies can compete effectively the same three traits they saw as key lower consumer spending (see
with the market leaders in their sector. competitive advantages three years Figure 11).
They’re particularly confident about ago. But they now place more weight
Most family-business managers are
more grudging about praising their
rivals. Although some of them admire
Figure 11: Product design and branding are key strengths the strong brands, product quality and
size of their competitors, they’re much
Product design,
28 more reserved about doing so than
quality or range
they are about expressing confidence
Strong brand
or market presence 20 in their own skills (see Figure 12).
Consistency, ability to win
business or customer loyalty
Vision and strategy 8

Technical capabilities 6
Financial strength, ability to
raise capital or access to funds 5

Competitive pricing 4

Human resources 4
Assertive or aggressive
marketing 3

Size 2

None 1

Other 8

Refused 3

% 0 10 20 30
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

“We have a very strong image in the

market, we are very trustworthy
and our brand is strong”
Finnish executive

12 PwC Family Business Survey

Perspectives also vary slightly by Figure 12: Competitors also excel at branding and product quality
region. Executives in the mature
markets are more likely to think their Strong brand or
market presence 14
companies very innovative and to
admire large competitors. Executives Product design, quality or range 10
in the emerging markets, by contrast,
are more likely to pride themselves on
Size 10
the quality of their staff, and to praise
their rivals’ assertive marketing and
Competitive pricing 9
competitive pricing (see Table 1).
Financial strength, ability to raise
capital or access to funds 9
Assertive or aggressive
marketing 8
Consistent, ability to win
business or customer loyalty 5

Technical capabilities 4

Procurement skills 1

None 14

Other 10

Don't know/Refused 8

% 0 10 20 30
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

Table 1: Perspectives vary by region

Key strengths respondents think they possess Key strengths respondents admire in rivals

Mature markets Emerging markets Mature markets Emerging markets

Product design Product design Strong brands Strong brands

(28%) (29%) (13%) (16%)

Strong brands Strong brands Size Assertive marketing

(19%) (22%) (11%) (12%)

Innovativeness/long-term vision Excellent staff Product design Competitive pricing

(9%) (7%) (10%) (11%)
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

But the power of the competition preys competition) – up from 44% three public spending) also keeps some
much less on the minds of respondents years ago (see Figure 13). For all their people awake at nights. Most
than it did in 2007, when 39% cited it professed optimism about the proprietors want a stable regime with a
as one of the top three external prospects for growth, many family- clearly defined five-year fiscal and
challenges they faced. Today, only 26% business owners and managers are monetary policy, so that they can plan
are concerned about losing out to obviously very nervous about the ahead.
competitors, whereas 68% are worried economy. Government policy
about market conditions (other than (including regulation, legislation and

PwC Family Business Survey 13

Many of the executives we spoke to are Figure 13: Market conditions, competition and changes in government policy
likewise concerned about various are the biggest external concerns
internal challenges, although the order
they rank them in has changed over
Market Conditions
the past three years. Thirty-eight 68
percent are anxious about labour
shortages (see Figure 14). This was the 26
biggest source of unease in 2007 as Government policy, regulation,
well – and evidence, perhaps, that legislation or public spending 25
family firms should promote Currency or exchange
differentiating factors like their rates issues 16
business values and long-term Exports or problems in
perspective more actively in the battle foreign markets 10
for brains. But managing cash flows
Interest rates 8
and controlling costs has now risen to
second place on the agenda; 30% of National or international
people list it as one of their main fiscal tax regime 8
internal challenges, compared with
Infrastructure issues 3
26% three years ago.
Political instability
or terrorism 2

Other 5

Nothing 2

Refused/Don't know 5

% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

“We’re worried about the persistent

influence of the financial crisis on
consumer behaviour”
Austrian executive

14 PwC Family Business Survey

Figure 14: Labour shortages, cash flow management and corporate Their investment plans reflect these
restructuring are the main internal challenges anxieties. Sixty-seven percent of the
family firms in our sample intend to
Difficulties recruiting skilled staff invest in human resources or training
or labour shortages 38 over the next 12 months (see
Cash flow or cost-control issues Figure 15). This is only marginally less
than the 73% that planned to do so in
Corporate reorganisation or other 2007 and a sign of the importance they
company-specific issues 29
attribute to the human factor.
Capacity or ability to meet
orders for other reasons 23

Profitability or margins 15
Raw material prices,
supplies or quality 12

Finance or availability of funds 12

Technology 10
Succession planning at senior
management level 6

Tax planning issues 2

Family politics 2

Other 1

Nothing in particular 2

Don't know/Refused 7

% 0 10 20 30 40 50

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

“Clients don’t pay on time and it

causes cash flow problems”
Maltese respondent

PwC Family Business Survey 15

Figure 15: Human resources, sales and marketing head However, comparing the results with
the investment agenda those from three years ago reveals
several significant changes. First, the
number of companies (particularly
Human resources and training 67 smaller companies) planning to invest
in each area is lower than it was before,
Sales activity 62 suggesting that many firms have had
Marketing 58 to rein in their spending. And, second,
they’re mainly economising on IT,
IT Infrastructure 52 management and governance, the
supply chain, transport and logistics,
Web-enablement 40 and finance. Some companies may
now have robust IT infrastructures,
Research & development 40
but management and governance, and
Manufacturing 37 finance are ongoing concerns.
Management and governance
structure 33
Overseas business
develpment 33

Supply chain/CRM 31

Procurement 30

Transport & logistics 25

Finance 23

Other 7

%0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

There are also some notable regional for example. Conversely, they’re much and training over the next 12 months,
variations in the anxiety executives more concerned about managing costs compared with more than four-fifths of
express. Executives in the mature and cash flows (see Table 2). This helps their peers in the growth economies
markets are much less worried about to explain why barely two-thirds of (see Table 3).
labour issues and government policy respondents from the mature markets
than those in the emerging markets, intend to invest in human resources

16 PwC Family Business Survey

Table 2: The challenges differ in the mature and emerging markets

Key external challenges Key internal challenges

Mature markets Emerging markets Mature markets Emerging markets

Market conditions Market conditions Labour issues Labour issues

(67%) (69%) (34%) (54%)

Competition Government policy Cost control & cash flows Company reorganisation
(26%) (31%) (32%) (29%)

Government policy Competition Company reorganisation Cost control & cash flows
(24%) (27%) (29%) (21%)
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

Table 3: People’s investment priorities differ, too

Mature markets Emerging markets

Human resources/training Human resources/training

(64%) (81%)

Sales activity Marketing

(61%) (67%)

Marketing Sales activity

(56%) (66%)
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

PwC Family Business Survey 17

Handing over the reins

18 PwC Family Business Survey

We invited you to tell us how you’re handling
succession planning and ownership issues, and
how you believe senior management should be
rewarded. More than a quarter of the family
businesses in our survey – rising to more than a
third in the emerging markets – are likely to
change hands during the next five years, and
more than half these companies are expected to
stay in the family. However, almost half the
companies in our sample don’t have a succession
plan, and only half of those that do have
designated a specific individual to take over the
top job.
Managing ownership of the business and other
family assets equitably is almost equally
challenging. Only three-fifths of proprietors
think they have enough resources to divide their
assets fairly between all their heirs, including
relatives who don’t work for the company. A
significant number have also failed to make any
provision for dealing with family and business
issues, if key personnel or shareholders should
get ill or die, or to assess their potential tax
liabilities. But most proprietors recognise the
value of good management and believe the best
way of retaining senior executives is to pay them
well. They put much less emphasis on new
challenges, career progression and work-life
balance, an attitude they may need to change as
Generations X and Y rise up the ladder.

PwC Family Business Survey 19

It’s widely recognised that one of the Of course, some family firms are cede control. The passion that drove
biggest risks facing any family- effectively ‘lifestyle’ businesses. If them to set up their companies in the
owned business is the transition from they’ve provided a comfortable income first place prevents them from stepping
one generation to the next. The for the founder and his or her back from the helm. Selecting a
Family Firm Institute estimates that dependents, they’ve arguably served successor can also be an extremely
only 30% of US family firms survive their purpose. But others generate a emotive issue. If more than one
the shift to the second generation, considerable amount of the world’s relative is interested in taking over the
only 12% are still viable in the third wealth; indeed, some reports suggest business, for example, it may be
generation and only 3% make it to that family firms collectively create difficult to choose the best candidate
the fourth generation or beyond4. between 70% and 90% of global GDP without offending other family
Our research bears this out. Thirty- per year5. The death of such companies members.
one percent of the companies in our is therefore a loss to the community at
survey are still managed by the large. Yet careful planning is essential to
entrepreneurs who established them. ensure a smooth transition. As we
noted in our previous survey, a good
succession plan outlines how the
Figure 16: Most of the family firms in our survey have only existed for one or succession will occur and what criteria
two generations will be used to judge when the
successor’s ready to take on the task. It
1 Generation eases the founder’s concerns about
handing over to someone else and
encourages the heirs to work in the
2 Generations 36 business, rather than embarking on
alternative careers. And it endeavours
3 Generations 19
to provide what’s best for the business,
recognising that competence is more
important than family connections.
4 Generations 7
Twenty-seven percent of the
5 or more
5 companies in our sample – rising to a
remarkably high 36% in the emerging
markets – are expected to change
Don't know 2
hands within the next five years (see
Figure 17). And over half of the people
% 0 10 20 30 40 who anticipate a change of ownership
think the business will remain in the
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11
family (see Figure 18). The older the
company, the more likely this is; 66%
Just 36% have survived the passage So, what accounts for the high attrition of proprietors running firms that have
to the second generation, and the rate? In some cases, the founder’s been trading for more than 50 years
percentage declines rapidly simply too caught up in the day-to-day plan to pass the wheel to their
thereafter (see Figure 16). activities of running the business to offspring, compared with just 35% of
plan for the future. But many those running firms that have been
entrepreneurs are also reluctant to trading for less than 20 years.

“It’s a great responsibility to take

over a family business, and it’s
important to keep the peace
between the family members”
Norwegian executive

20 PwC Family Business Survey

This is consistent with the picture in Figure 17: More than a quarter of companies are expected to change hands
2007. So, too, is the fact that nearly within the next five years
half the companies we surveyed don’t
have a succession plan, although larger Yes - in 1 11
to 2 years
companies are generally more
prepared for the transition than Yes - in 3
smaller ones; 61% have some sort of to 5 years
plan in place (see Figure 19).
Yes - in more
than 5 years

No 60

Don't know 5

% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

Figure 18: Most of those who think their companies will change hands over
the next five years expect the business to remain in the family

Pass to the next generation

of the family 53

Trade sale to another

company 21

Sale to private equity investor 20

Sale to management team 15

Flotation/IPO 8

Other 13

Refused/Don’t know 2

% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

“My greatest desire is to guide the

company through the current
economic crisis and then hand it on
to the next generation”
Swedish executive

PwC Family Business Survey 21

There’s certainly a pressing need for Figure 19: Nearly half of all companies have no succession plans
better planning, even in many of the
companies that have drawn up a Yes, for all senior
succession plan. Sixty-eight percent of executive roles
the executives who say they’ve
Yes, for the most senior
prepared for the changeover expect executive roles 14
family members to assume one or
more of the senior management Yes, for a small number
of senior executive roles 18
positions in the business, although
11% – rising to 34% in North America
– intend to bypass their families A plan is in progress 1
altogether (see Figure 20). But only
50% have actually designated a No 47
specific individual to take over the top
job, and the percentage is even lower
in the emerging markets (43%). Don't know 3

% 0 10 20 30 40 50
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

Figure 20: In most companies with succession plans family members are
expected to assume at least one of the key roles

6+ 2

1-5 66

None 11

Refused/ 21
Don't know
% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

22 PwC Family Business Survey

Figure 21: Equitable division of assets is a problem for many proprietors Moreover, some families have seen
their wealth significantly eroded
during the economic downtown. Only
Don’t know/haven’t Don’t have
considered the issue sufficient resources
61% of respondents think they have
23% 16% sufficient resources to divide their
assets fairly between all their heirs,
including those who don’t work for the
business (see Figure 21). Conflicts over
money could therefore compound any
61% disagreements about which relative
Have sufficient should succeed to the throne.
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11
Further evidence that some family
firms may be less ready for the future
than they realise comes from the fact
that 62% haven’t made any provision
Figure 22: Many companies haven’t prepared for the sickness or death of a for dealing with family and business
key manager or shareholder issues, if a key manager or shareholder
gets seriously sick or dies (see
Figure 22). Similarly, 38% haven’t
Don’t have plans Have plans
appointed a caretaker management
team to run the business, if the
incumbent chief executive expires
before any of his or her children are old
enough to assume control.
Indeed, many family firms would face
considerable difficulties if any sudden
change of ownership occurred,
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11
regardless of the cause. Fifty-six
percent haven’t established any
Figure 23: More than half of all proprietors haven’t had their companies valued procedures for purchasing the shares of
for at least a year incapacitated or deceased
shareholders. And 50% either lack the
liquidity to buy out family members
Been 40 Domestically who want to dispose of their stakes in
Internationally the business or haven’t considered the
valued 9

Not 55
valued 70

% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

The majority of family-business the financial burden. The first step is to respondents haven’t had their
owners have also failed to assess their get the business professionally valued, companies valued domestically, and
potential tax exposure, even though in order to assess the likely tax liability 73% of those with a cross-border
taxes are rising in the mature if the business were to be sold to an presence haven’t had their companies
economies and planning is essential to external party or transferred to the valued internationally, within the last
realise any opportunities for mitigating next generation. However, 55% of all 12 months (see Figure 23).

PwC Family Business Survey 23

Figure 24: Many proprietors don’t have a complete picture of their exposure to
capital gains tax

Not 37
aware 58

% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

Figure 25: Many proprietors are also unaware of the full extent of the
inheritance tax their heirs might have to pay

Not 33
aware 58

% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

24 PwC Family Business Survey

But though many family-business management teams; and 75% believe next generation of executives. Both
owners don’t know how much tax they the best way of retaining them is to pay anecdotal and empirical evidence
or their heirs might incur, they are them well (see Figure 26). They place shows, for example, that Generation X
acutely aware of the need to much less emphasis on new and Y workers rate leisure time much
remunerate senior management challenges, career progression and more highly than their Boomer
properly. A full 88% employ between work-life balance – a view they may counterparts6.
one and 10 people in their senior need to modify in order to recruit the
The emphasis also varies from one
region to another (see Figure 27).
Executives in the emerging markets
are particularly likely to see salaries,
Figure 26: Salaries top the list of measures family firms use for retaining good management techniques and
key talent career progression as the most
effective means of holding onto key
Good salaries 75 staff.

Challenging job

Good management

Career progression 57

Work-life balance 51

Other 10

None of the above 5

Don't know 2

% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

“I want to deal with workers,

customers and suppliers in a
human way”
German executive

PwC Family Business Survey 25

In addition to paying generous Figure 27: Companies in the emerging markets are more likely to stress the
salaries, 76% of the family firms in our importance of multiple measures for retaining key staff
survey use some sort of incentive
scheme to reward senior executives. Good salaries
Annual bonuses are still the most
popular choice, as they were in 2007, 85%
but 22% of companies operate share
plans, option schemes or other
incentive plans, many of which have Work-life
73% Challenging job
been in place for more than two years balance opportunities
(see Figure 28). Payment of an annual 54%
bonus is particularly common in larger 50%
companies (77%). However, most
people, regardless of the size of their
companies, believe such schemes have
a positive effect.
55% 57%
68% 70%

Career Good management

progression techniques
Mature markets
Emerging markets

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

26 PwC Family Business Survey

Figure 28: The most popular means of rewarding senior management
is the annual bonus

Annual bonus 61

Deferred bonus 15

Other share plans 8

Options 5

None of these 24

Other 9

know 3

% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

PwC Family Business Survey 27

Falling out and making up

28 PwC Family Business Survey

It’s clear from your responses that the ability to
manage differences of opinion smoothly is now
more important than ever. The percentage of
family firms experiencing tension has increased
significantly during the past three years. Nearly
half the people participating in our survey told us
they’ve argued about the future direction of the
business, and nearly two-fifths said they’ve
argued about the performance of family
members employed in the firm. Almost two-
thirds of the family businesses in our survey also
hire relatives without requiring them to compete
for their jobs on the open market, which probably
makes matters worse.
Yet, less than a third of all companies have
introduced any procedures for dealing with
disputes between family members. The smaller
and younger the company, the less likely it is to
have done so. The relatively few businesses that
have put conflict resolution measures in place
tend to favour shareholder agreements, whereas
family councils were the most popular means of
resolving arguments about the business in 2007.

PwC Family Business Survey 29

As we noted in the Foreword, a family some of the shareholders won’t be quarrelled about the performance of
business is essentially a combination of involved in the day-to-day running of family members employed within the
three different entities – the company the business. firm. Thirty-one percent have also
itself, the family attached to it and the disagreed about who should be
owners. The interests of the people in Certain subjects are particularly prone allowed to work for the business and
each circle overlap, but they aren’t to make tempers fly. Forty-four percent whether family members who are
identical. These differences sometimes of the people we spoke to said they’d actively involved in the business are
cause conflicts, especially in older quarrelled about the future direction consulting the wider family sufficiently
companies, where it’s more likely that of the business, and 36% that they’d (see Figure 29).

Figure 29: Disagreements about future strategy are the most frequent cause of dissent

Discussions about the future strategy of the business 56 34 10

Performance of family members actively

64 27 9
involved in the business

Failure of family members actively involved

in the business to consult the wider 69 23 8
family on key issues
Decisions about who can and can’t
69 24 7
work in the business

The role ‘in-laws’ should or shouldn’t

74 20 6
play in the business

The setting of remuneration levels for family

members actively involved in the business 74 20 6

Decisions about the reinvestment of profits in

the business versus the payment of dividends 74 20 6

-100 -90 -80 -70 -60 -50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 %
No tension Some tension A lot of tension

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

“I hope that we’re all still talking

and not killing each other”
Irish respondent

30 PwC Family Business Survey

These are actually the same issues that bring family members into the climb even higher in some countries7.
caused most dissent in our previous business. Sixty-four percent hire Nevertheless, in hard times all
survey. However, the percentage of relatives without requiring them to companies need the best executives
family firms experiencing tension has compete for their jobs on the open they can attract.
increased significantly, especially market, up from 43% in 2007.
when it comes to discussing the future Preferential treatment of family Whether or not the economic
strategy of the business and the members is particularly common in instability of the past few years has
competence of the family members small companies and those based in created more strife, only 29% of the
managing it. North America. companies in our sample – a mere 7.4%
more than in 2007 – have introduced
The economic climate may be partly to It’s probably understandable that so any procedures for dealing with
blame. Shareholders may be more many owners should favour relatives disputes between family members (see
likely to question the direction and when the recession has made it much Figure 30). The smaller and younger
management of a company when it’s harder for people to find work. the company, the less likely it is to have
going through difficulties. But some Unemployment rates are currently done so.
proprietors also seem to have relaxed hovering at about 10% in the US and
the criteria they use when deciding to the euro zone, for example, and may The number of family firms with
conflict resolution measures in place
hasn’t changed very much since 2007,
then, but there has been some change
in the procedures such firms prefer. In
2007, family councils were the most
Figure 30: Most companies haven’t adopted any procedures for resolving popular means of resolving arguments
conflicts between family members about the business, whereas
shareholder agreements are now the
Don’t have Have procedures first choice (see Figure 31).


Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

“A family row can ruin

a company”
Brazilian executive

PwC Family Business Survey 31

Figure 31: Shareholder agreements, family councils and mediation are the Use of third-party mediation has also
most common measures for resolving conflicts become more widespread, possibly
because employing a non-executive
30 director or independent business
Shareholder agreement consultant to act as an impartial
52 go-between has several advantages. It
provides a neutral forum in which the
31 disputants can air their differences
Family council without being intimidated; the process
44 is more structured than ‘ordinary’
negotiation; and the results are often
27 more long-lasting. But third-party
Thrid-party mediation mediation is still a predominantly
37 Western practice. Family businesses in
the emerging markets typically prefer
28 family councils or constitutions and
Family constitution shareholder agreements (see Table 4).

Incapacity and death 14 2007

arrangements 2010

Entry and exit provisions

Performance appraisals

External council



Don’t know/Refused

% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

32 PwC Family Business Survey

Table 4: The conflict resolution procedures family businesses prefer
vary by region

Mature markets Emerging markets

Shareholder agreement Family council

(51%) (60%)

Family council Shareholder agreement

(39%) (57%)

Third-party mediation Family constitution

(37%) (47%)
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

PwC Family Business Survey 33

Dealing with regulation and
creating value for society

34 PwC Family Business Survey

Regulation, government incentives and
corporate social responsibility are perennial
concerns. So, what did you have to say on this
score? The vast majority of family-business
managers told us they would like to have a
simpler tax regime and/or pay lower taxes. More
than half also want to see a tougher corporate
compliance environment, and many have serious
reservations about whether their governments
have done enough to support the business
community during the recession. Criticism is
particularly marked in the emerging markets.
But most people are much more upbeat about the
growing emphasis on corporate social
responsibility. Nearly three-quarters of the
executives we spoke to said it’s had a
constructive impact on their companies. Almost
half have already made minor or significant
changes to their businesses in order to become
more socially responsible, and half plan on doing
so over the next two years.

PwC Family Business Survey 35

We’ve discussed the key commercial This isn’t surprising, since the tax rules More remarkably, 56% of respondents
and managerial issues family firms in many jurisdictions are now also favour a tougher corporate
face, and how they resolve internal hideously complex. US IRS compliance environment, a feature
disputes. But what’s their attitude to Commissioner Doug Shulman recently that ranked only fourth on their
regulation and corporate social acknowledged that the US tax code is agenda three years ago. The virtual
collapse of the banking system in 2008
may account for this response; many
commentators have argued that one of
Figure 32: Tax changes top of the list of changes family firms want the main causes of the financial crisis
was inadequate or outdated regulation.
Half the executives we interviewed
-1 -4 24 58 2010 would likewise appreciate assistance in
Simpler tax rules and/or
lower taxes creating closer links with academia for
-2 -3 20 65 2007 the purposes of product development,
whereas only 37% are concerned with
getting greater access to the capital
-7 -11 30 26 2010 markets.
A stronger corporate
compliance environment
-11 -12 24 24 2007 There are obvious reasons why
relatively few entrepreneurs should be
interested in floating their companies
Better links between -13 -14 25 25 2010
at present, of course. Although the
industry and universities
for product development
number of initial public offerings
-16 -10 23 27 2007 increased in the first half of 2010, the
sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone,
-17 -17 19 18 2010 the uncertain pace of the recovery and
Greater access to limited access to credit have all curbed
the capital markets interest in new offerings. Moreover,
-21 -15 21 16 2007 the main stock market indices are still
languishing at levels well below those
% -50 -40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 they reached in late 2006 and early
Very unimportant Quite unimportant Quite important Very important

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

responsibility? We asked respondents ‘already four times longer than War

which regulatory changes they would and Peace and [growing] each year’8,
welcome most. Top of their wish list is while new British Chancellor George
a better tax regime, as it was in our Osborne compared the 11-000 page
previous survey. More than four-fifths UK tax code to a ‘spaghetti bowl’, when
of the executives we spoke to say he established an office specifically to
simplification of the corporate tax simplify the country’s tax regime in
rules and/or a reduction in the tax July 20109.
burden is quite or very important to
them (see Figure 32).

36 PwC Family Business Survey

The precarious state of the global Figure 33: Family-business managers are critical of government initiatives to
economy probably also explains why help them through the recession
only 24% of people think their
governments have done enough to
support the business community
Yes, they are sufficient 24
during the recession (see Figure 33).
Forty-seven percent believe the
initiatives that have been introduced No, they are insufficient 47
are ‘insufficient’, while 24% consider
them ‘inappropriate’. Criticism is No, they are
particularly marked in the emerging inappropriate 24
markets, where only 17% of
respondents think their governments
Don't know 5
have helped them sufficiently (see
Table 5).
% 0 10 20 30 40 50
Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

Table 5: Executives in the emerging markets are especially dissatisfied with

their governments’ initiatives

Mature Emerging
markets markets

Think measures sufficient 26% 17%

Think measures insufficient 45% 60%

Think measures inappropriate 25% 21%

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

However, most executives are much positive (see Figure 34). Forty-eight the crowd; customers often favour
more upbeat about the growing percent of all respondents have already suppliers who demonstrate regard for
emphasis on corporate social made changes to accommodate CSR, the environment. CSR can also help a
responsibility (CSR). Nearly three- while 49% plan on doing so over the business improve its performance by
quarters report that CSR has had a next two years (see Figure 35). These reducing energy and waste disposal
quite or very constructive impact on people recognise that building a costs, coping with new laws and
their companies, and those based in reputation as a responsible business restrictions more effectively and even
the emerging markets are particularly helps a company distinguish itself from developing new products or services.

PwC Family Business Survey 37

Figure 34: Most executives believe CSR has had a positive impact
on their business

Very positive impact 27

Quite positive impact 46

Negative Impact 4

No impact at all 16

My business doesn’t
undertake any CSR 7
% 0 10 20 30 40 50

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

38 PwC Family Business Survey

Figure 35: Many companies have already made CSR-inspired changes, and
many more plan to do so over the next two years

Significant 15

Minor changes

No changes

Don’t know/ 1 During the past two years

Refused In the next two years

% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

“I want to build a thriving company

that’s careful about the
environment, both social and
French executive

PwC Family Business Survey 39

What we’ve learned

40 PwC Family Business Survey

The responses we received during this regard their responsibilities very regularly in the feedback we received.
year’s survey show that a more sombre seriously. “I want to continue providing “I want to grow the business much
mood prevails than in 2007. A number the quality product and exceptional bigger, let’s say tenfold,” a Cypriot
of family-business owners talked in service that my dad has been providing proprietor remarked. Other
terms of ‘trying to keep our heads for the last 20 years,” said one person respondents spoke of driving up
above water’ and ‘making it through who’s recently assumed the top job. turnover and profits, and creating
the crisis’. Several battle-weary ‘durable value’. Some also
executives also expressed a yearning The desire to leave a stable and acknowledged the contribution their
to withdraw from the fray. I’d welcome successful business for their offspring employees have made. “We have very
‘anything that would enable me to is by no means the only theme that dedicated loyal employees. . . . That’s
retire earlier’, one Maltese proprietor emerged in our conversations with one thing our competition can’t buy,” a
remarked. family-business owners around the Canadian executive noted. “Teamwork
world. Many also stressed the is more important than all the money
But most people are determined to importance of personal integrity. A in the bank,” a Maltese owner agreed.
keep up the struggle and some have Japanese proprietor talked of
fared extremely well, regardless of the ‘righteousness and selflessness’, for However, it’s obvious that many
recession. “I’ve grown the company example. Similarly, a US proprietor respondents attribute much of their
tenfold in 10 years, which I think is prided himself on being ‘true to my companies’ resilience to the fact that
quite an achievement,” a Finnish word’, while a Maltese proprietor said they are family firms. There are a few
owner said. Others also have ‘thriving he’d like to be remembered as someone notable exceptions who want to ‘escape
and profitable’ operations, enjoy who has run his business ‘not as a from the family model’, as one person
‘international success’ and aim to ‘keep businessman but as a gentleman’. put it. But for the majority of the
on growing’. Many of these participants in our survey, being part
entrepreneurs are eager to bequeath Some entrepreneurs are equally of a family business is a big plus. It
healthy businesses to their children. “I concerned with making a contribution ‘means that we’re looking at the
think that in every family-controlled to society at large. “We’d like the business long-term rather than
business, continuity from one community to think we’re an ethical short-term, which gives us a lot of
generation to the next is what business with high morals,” one Danish motivation and a good position’, a
everyone wants most,” a Brazilian family-business owner said, while a Finnish respondent explained. “The
proprietor observed. Spanish respondent explained that, in unity of our family has helped us. We
addition to running a business, his respect each other and each person has
They’re not all confident that their family operates a ‘social foundation’. a different expertise,” a Brazilian
heirs will rise to the challenge. “The He’s not alone. “We donated £50 respondent added.
younger generation don’t take the million to charity last year. I want to
positions as seriously as the older give young people the best possible Indeed, the aspirations of many of the
ones,” a Canadian executive start in life,” one of the key 1,606 people who generously
complained. A Cypriot family-business shareholders in a British family firm contributed to our research can be
owner also has grave doubts on this told us. summed up in the words of one Dutch
score. “I believe that, if I don’t manage family-business owner, who said:
to [take the company public], it will be Of course, such philanthropy’s only “We’ve been trading for 78 years. Let’s
destroyed,” he commented. possible when a company is successful go for the 100.”
Nevertheless, some successors clearly – and commercial ambitions featured

PwC Family Business Survey 41

Appendix: Methodology and
survey population

42 PwC Family Business Survey

Our survey covers small and mid-sized family
companies in 35 countries: Austria, Bahamas,
Bahrain, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Canada,
Cyprus, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France,
Germany, Ireland, Italy, Kuwait, Jamaica, Japan,
Jordan, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Oman,
Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain,
Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Trinidad and
Tobago, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United
Kingdom and United States. We interviewed top
executives in 1,606 companies operating in 15
industry sectors between 26 May and 17 August
2010. All respondents were interviewed via a
20-minute telephone call, with the exception of
respondents in Japan and Turkey, who were
interviewed face-to-face. The research was
coordinated by the PwC International Survey
Unit, Belfast, our global centre of excellence in
market research, which designed the
questionnaire in conjunction with family
business experts from PwC.

PwC Family Business Survey 43

Figure 36: Survey participants by position in company

Chief executive 48

Owner/proprietor 13

Financial director 14

Other director 10

Other 15

% 0 10 20 30 40 50

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

Note: Other includes President/Vice President, Chairman, Partner, Company Secretary, Member of the
Board or Shareholder

Eighty-two percent of the companies in Figure 37: Survey participants by industry sector
our sample have been trading for at
least 20 years. Indeed, 42 per cent have Consumer goods 16
been in business for at least 50 years.
Thirty-one percent employ more than Retail/Wholesale 14
250 people and 28% generated
Construction and civil
revenues of over 50 million euros last 11
year. More than half (54%) export
goods or services to foreign markets, Manufacturing 16
and 31% trade worldwide. The largest
firms have generally been in business Automotive 5
longest and are more likely to export to
other countries. However, companies Transportation and distribution 5
in the consumer goods and
manufacturing sectors also tend to be Chemicals 2
particularly active overseas; 61% and
81%, respectively, export products or Forestry, paper and packaging 2
services to other territories.
Hospitality and leisure 3

Financial services 4

Agriculture 2

Property and real estate 2

Business services 3

Other 15

% 0 10 20

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

44 PwC Family Business Survey

Figure 38: The countries with which companies that export their goods or
service trade

of the world

USA 16

Asia 18

Worldwide 31

Other 17

% 0 10 20 30 40 50 60

Source: PwC Family Business Survey 2010/11

Note: Other includes Africa, Australia, Central America and South America

PwC Family Business Survey 45


“World debt”, The Economist (June 24, 2010),

Scotiabank Group, “Global Forecast Update” (September 2, 2010),

“Bank shares rise after new rules agreed”, BBC News (September 13, 2010),

Family Firm Institute, “Global Data Points”,


Twenge, Jean M., Campbell, Stacy M. et al. “Generational Differences in Work Values: Leisure and Extrinsic Values
Increasing, Social and Intrinsic Values Decreasing”, Journal of Management Online First (March 1, 2010),

Trading Economics, “Country Ranking by Unemployment Rates”,

“Prepared Remarks of IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman to New York State Bar Association Taxation Section Annual
Meeting in New York City, Jan. 26, 2010”,,,id=218705,00.html

“Tax system ‘to be simplified to encourage investment’”, BBC News (20 July 2010),

“How Long Will Stock Market Struggle”, CBS News (August 16, 2010),

46 PwC Family Business Survey

PwC Family Business Survey 47
For further information about the survey, please contact:

Axel Dorenkamp
Global Middle Market Director
+49 541 3304 585

For media enquiries, please contact:

Mike Davies
Director of Global Communications
+44 20 7804 2378

For enquiries about the research methodology, please contact:

Colette Duff
Managing Consultant at PwC’s International Survey Unit
+44 2890 415216

48 PwC Family Business Survey

We would like to thank the family business owners who participated in our survey. We would also like to
thank Rémy Barbeault, Peter Bartels, Lucille Chartier, Axel Dorenkamp, Colette Duff, Julian Jenkins, Helen
Kay, Steef Klop, Stéphane Leray, Jacques Lesieur, Jan-Olof Lindberg, Colleen Maguire, Hayley Rimmer,
Véronique Rode-Coupeau, Miguel Sanchez, Tone Soyland, Alina Stefan, Emma Thomas and Marcel Widrig for
their active support.
PwC Family Business Survey

PwC firms provide industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services to enhance value for their clients. More than 161,000 people in 154 countries in firms
across the PwC network share their thinking, experience and solutions to develop fresh perspectives and practical advice. See for more information.

“PwC” is the brand under which member firms of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited (PwCIL) operate and provide services. Together, these firms form the
PwC network. Each firm in the network is a separate legal entity and does not act as agent of PwCIL or any other member firm. PwCIL does not provide any services
to clients. PwCIL is not responsible or liable for the acts or omissions of any of its member firms nor can it control the exercise of their professional judgment or bind
them in any way.

© 2010 PricewaterhouseCoopers. All rights reserved.

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