Succession planning a top issue for family businesses in Canada

EY panel discusses keys to success in family business

TORONTO, Nov. 25, 2015 /CNW/ - With most family businesses not making it past the first generation, succession was a hot topic for Canadian family business leaders who attended a panel in Toronto in October.

"Family businesses have a drive and ambition that is unparalleled," says David Steinberg, EY's National Private Mid-Market Co-Leader, who also moderated the panel. "At our panel, we heard that while most family business leaders are in fact addressing succession, those without identified next generation successors are working closely with their management teams to address traditional transitions as well as potential unforeseen emergencies."

That's good news, according EY and Kennesaw State University's Cox Family Enterprise Center's global survey Staying power: how do family businesses create lasting success?. The report – in which 53% of respondents were family business leaders who have already made it past the second generation – identifies the keys to lasting success:

  • View succession as a long-term process
  • Clearly define who has the responsibility for succession
  • Work steadily to prepare the next generation for leadership.

"Family business leaders need to consider succession planning sooner than later. The key to a smooth transition is starting the planning process early enough to account for stakeholder concerns and addressing any areas of family conflict that may arise," says Steinberg. "With so many complicating factors, many family businesses do not make it past the first generation – and even fewer past the second generation."

In addition to succession, participants at EY's panel in Toronto – which included prominent Canadian family business leaders – discussed best practices in the areas of women in leadership, governance, communication and relationships, branding, sustainability and cybersecurity. 

Steinberg says social responsibility and cybersecurity are also top-of-mind for family business leaders in Canada.

"Our report found that, globally, 83% of family businesses expect spending on cybersecurity to increase over the next year," says Steinberg. "Cybersecurity risks for family businesses extend beyond data breaches and hacking that have been highlighted in the media. Companies know they need to invest in the best ways to protect their brands, IP and financial integrity. Their future success depends on it."

Steinberg adds: "Family businesses are the backbone of our economy. Addressing these issues will help them flourish – and continue to create jobs, invest in their communities and innovate and grow."

To view a video of David Steinberg's key takeaways from the family business roundtable session, visit: http://eycast.eycan.com/vod/PMMFamRT2/

To view a video of EY Canada's Strategic Growth Leader, Colleen McMorrow's thoughts on the session visit: http://eycast.eycan.com/vod/PMMFamRT1/

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

For more information, please visit ey.com/ca. Follow us on Twitter @EYCanada.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit ey.com.

SOURCE EY (Ernst & Young)

For further information: Sasha Anopina, sasha.anopina@ca.ey.com, 416 943 2637; Julie Fournier, julie.fournier@ca.ey.com, 514 874 4308; Leigh Kjekstad, leigh.kjekstad@ca.ey.com, 604 648 3807

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