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Much more than managing your personal financial assets, private banking can be a true partner for entrepreneurs and their company, every step of the way. In an interview with the Luxembourg economic and financial magazine Paperjam, Paulo Flora Rei, Private Banking Adviser, and Charles Sunnen, Corporate Adviser, discuss the support offered to business leaders by Banque de Luxembourg.
Their particular requirements make business leaders a special group of clients in a bank's eyes. On the one hand, business owners need to be supported in the development and management of their company. On the other hand, like any private individual, they have personal financial and banking needs. "Entrepreneurs have different expectations depending on whether they are wearing their professional or private hat. This gives them a special profile as private banking clients," explains Charles Sunnen, Corporate Adviser at Banque de Luxembourg, a Luxembourg private bank with over 100 years’ experience.
Entrepreneurs are often hands-on in the operational side of the business, focusing on the running and growth of their company. But alongside this professional wealth, which they seek to grow, they generally also build up personal wealth over the course of their life. This is where the private banker comes in Paulo Flora Rei, Private Banking Adviser
Three crucial moments
The private banker’s support for a business leader often goes well beyond purely banking or financial matters. As a true adviser, the private banker will be present at every stage of their life. "The first important moment is when they create or take over the family business. At this point, entrepreneurs have specific needs: they will be purchasing shares in the company (sometimes from their brothers and sisters), paying fees, etc. On the personal side, this may coincide with the time when they are acquiring their own home," says Paulo Flora Rei.
Subsequently, the bank will provide support for the development of the business. "The bank will help entrepreneurs finance their company’s projects by providing them with financing solutions and bank guarantees. The bank can also look after the management of the company’s day-to-day operations," Charles Sunnen points out. But the private banker goes even further, advising entrepreneurs on cash management and investment strategy, looking after their personal assets and diversifying their portfolio, or seeking to plough their surplus cash back into growing the company.
The last – but no less essential – stage is when the head wants to leave the company, hand over the reins and, in many cases, pass it on to his or her children. The private banker will be there to support them in this momentous process.
Passing on the business is a major challenge
They have to find their place, develop their own skills, and gain legitimacy among employees and shareholders. This is why we also advise future young leaders on their integration into the family business.Charles Sunnen, Corporate Advise
One of the major challenges faced by entrepreneurs is passing on their wealth, including personal and professional assets that they have built up throughout their lives, and sometimes over several generations. "This is the time when all those involved have a host of questions and this can affect relationships within the family. It is one of the biggest challenges in the life of an entrepreneur," Paulo Flora Rei suggests. “They are coming to the end of their career, they have seen their company grow, and now they have to put their trust in the next generation. They also have to find a sense of purpose in their life, which has so far been devoted to their business. That is not always easy for the outgoing head.” Or for the person who takes over. “They have to find their place, develop their own skills, and gain legitimacy among employees and shareholders," emphasises Charles Sunnen. “This is why we also advise future young leaders on their integration into the family business.”
Much more than a bank
Although they are different, the private and professional needs of the entrepreneur and the management of their personal and professional wealth, are often intertwined. So the bank is far from just being about finance or investment. Beyond interest rates and guarantees, the bank seeks to find the best solutions to structure and sustainably build the company, in the interest of the client’s personal assets and those of the company.
“We also play the role of facilitator," explains Paulo Flora Rei. “When we work on projects with family businesses, we pay particular attention to the family as well as the business, by developing a co-construction approach with each member involved.” Charles Sunnen adds, "We don’t want to replace other partners, such as an accountant, lawyer or consulting firm. That is not our role or our goal. On the contrary, we think it is essential to work hand-in-hand with other experts, both internal and external, who provide their own vital support to the business and entrepreneur.”
Different types of support for different types of entrepreneur
The private banking approach is highly customisable since each entrepreneur has different requirements, depending on the activity and size of their company, and their history, objectives and values. "Even within a family business, the various members – matriarch, patriarch, children, etc. – may have very different ambitions," says Paulo Flora Rei. “That's why the private banker really has to adapt to each individual case.”
Interview by Jeanne Renauld for Paperjam.
Read the Private Banking feature (in French) in the Paperjam magazine published on 25 March 2021
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