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Monday to Friday
8.30 am to 4.30 pm

That's why we tailor our services to their individual needs. Passing on a family business is a major challenge and cannot be left to chance. How best to help family businesses with succession planning and governance is what Anne Goedert, Family Practice Adviser at Banque de Luxembourg, does best.

When a family is set to pass on ownership or control of its business assets, we act as facilitator. Our first task is to help the members to take a step back from the “family system” and look more objectively at the process and what they want to achieve. We work with all parties concerned, with both the present and next generations. We facilitate communication by inviting them to sit around a table and talk about their hopes and dreams – as well as their fears – and to listen to each other. Members of the same family can see things very differently. So it’s crucial to bring people on board and find a solution that works for both the family and the business.

We act as the experienced and professional third party, but our role is always neutral, taking everyone’s best interests into account.

How exactly do you support families and their businesses?

We work on a number of levels: we offer tailored and personalised support to each family in business, facilitating communication between the Present Gen and the Next Gen on issues of governance and how best to hand over the family business. We help them achieve the right degree of separation – neither too big, nor too small – between family, business and assets. The next step is to bring everyone together to establish a roadmap for the successful handover of the family business, which is our primary mission.

And we regularly organise special programs for the Next Gen (18 to 35 year-olds): the Summer Academy and the Family Business Junior Executive Program. They aim to make the next generation aware of the challenges of succession. We provide an opportunity for them to think about where they see themselves in the transition, as well as a forum to talk about the concerns of taking over the family business with other young people in the same situation – who often have the same questions.

And that’s not all. We also put on workshops and conferences, often with our partner, the Family Business Network. Here again, the aim is to assist family businesses to come to grips with the practical considerations.

What have you observed over the years as a Family Practice Adviser?

In my 15 years of practice, I’ve encountered as many different scenarios as there are different families in business. But what they all share is a tie to a company and a responsibility towards its stakeholders. And so, to quote a parent after his daughter took part in one of our programs, they have “an obligation to at least take a minimum interest to be able to take the right decisions for themselves and for the company”.

The transition will only be successful with buy-in from all parties if it is understood and if everyone finds or is offered a role in continuing the business and making a contribution.

You didn’t start out working in a bank. How did you come to work as a Family Practice Adviser?

I joined Banque de Luxembourg in 2019, after a 10-year career as a lawyer at a Luxembourg law firm. Why did I decide to leave the bar? I was inspired by the passion with which Philippe Depoorter, previous head of the Family Practice, spoke to me about his work with families in business during my first interview at Banque de Luxembourg. I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so the value of his approach to families was obvious to me. I love working with people and for people. To be able to support families on part of their journey and then observe them as they move forward and progress with their succession plans is deeply fulfilling for me.

I love working with people and for people.

What does taking over responsibility for the Family Practice mean to you?

Philippe Depoorter wanted someone who was keen to continue what he had created and developed over the last 15 years: the Family Practice. Taking over from him and continuing this work is a huge vote of confidence and a great honour. I’m looking forward to the new challenge. Because I'm firmly convinced of the importance of our role, of what we instill in families in business and what we can offer them.

What's on the agenda for the next few months?

In two weeks’ time, we’ll be meeting the participants in our current edition of the Family Business Junior Executive Program again. This is a group of 11 young people who have joined the family business with a view to ultimately taking it over. The question of legitimacy is at the heart of this program. It closes with a dinner where each participant invites a family member or other person close to the family business to talk about what they’ve learned during the program.

In the first quarter of 2024, we’ll be running a new program, this time for the generation currently at the helm, family executives and/or shareholders who are considering the challenges of passing on the baton. This new program has several aims: (i) to provide a framework for peer-to-peer discussion between people in similar situations – and who often have the same questions; (ii) to provide an opportunity to learn about the pitfalls and challenges of succession and the key aspects of a succession plan to ensure a smooth transition when the time comes; and (iii) to help participants see where they stand in relation to the succession plan.

All these programs are ideal opportunities to get together, to share insights and ideas and provide inspiration so that family businesses can move forward with their succession plans.

To find out more about how we support families in business, contact Anne Goedert

Anne Goedert
Family Practice Adviser
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