A Model For The Future: What European Family Businesses Need From Politics And Finance

Where do European family businesses see their future challenges?Family business mean on average 40 to 50 % of all jobs of European private employment

Deutsche Bank has conducted a report to obtain overview of the EU family businesses’ views, concerning national and regional policies and developments in the financial sector. To carry out the initiative, 21 representatives of family businesses from 20 European countries were interviewed. The report was supported by the EU federation European Family Businesses (EFB).

Where do European family businesses see their future challenges given that these companies accounts for an important part – on average 40 to 50 % of all jobs – of European private employment?

More reliability and less red tape

In politics, their expectations focus above all on creating and maintaining the most reliable context possible in which to do business: a sound tax framework and an inheritance tax which is advantageous across Europe and not just in some countries.

Bureaucracy should be less, regulations should not be too complicated,and at the very least they should remain stable and not change rapidly –a point several interviewees have complained about. Family businesses are seen to be grappling with a complex array of regulatory constraints which are regarded as barriers or seen as an injustice. In particular, interviewees from Germany and France have requested more equality and a reduction of disadvantages compared to other markets in terms of fiscal policy.

A deep understanding, beyond the role of money

Most interviewees agreed that it is not enough if financial partners content themselves with understanding a family business’s figures; they need to comprehend the business model and the strategy as well. Only banks which understand these specific corporate features can gain the trust of family businesses.

Wanted and appreciated: sparring partners at eye level

Most interviewees are open to banks which act as sparring partners and experts who share their know-how about exports, internationalisation, and financing and business models, and which forge contacts that can open doors to new opportunities. Internationalisation in particular is regarded as a demanding process that needs expert know-how. Companies from export-oriented countries such as the UK or Finland or, indeed, Poland highly appreciate bank advice.

*Image: Flickr/ Lucía Ruiz