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Law firm’s innovative seminar hailed huge success
Article date: 19/12/2013
A unique and innovative event which brought together legal and business specialists from across the Midlands to discuss key issues affecting family firms has been hailed a huge success.
Leading law firm Higgs & Sons organised the special seminar at its Brierley Hill headquarters to examine how family firms can continue to flourish when the head of the company steps down.
The event looked at ways of ensuring a smooth handover of power while protecting the family's existing wealth in the firm and providing for the financial future of a range of family members.
The seminar brought together 30 financial advisers, accountants, business consultants and bankers from the Black Country.
Philip Barnsley, a partner at Higgs and head of its family department, said delegates were split into separate teams and asked to consider the future of a fictional family firm from the point of view of one of five different family members.
"Each of our teams was made up of external advisers and had to consider the full range of issues the case study threw up, which were typical of the kind of dilemmas facing many family businesses in this area.
"It proved beyond doubt the need for external advisers such as IFA's, accountants and bankers to work with Higgs - across a number of specialisms such as Corporate, Family and Private Client.
"We have had some very positive feedback from our guests, many of whom said they would consider changing the way they work with their own clients as a result of seeing the value of a range of professionals working together.
"This holistic approach is quite unique to Higgs and is something we believe can ensure the best possible results for family businesses going through significant changes in management or structure."
A survey at the seminar show nearly 70 per cent of delegates had seen an increase in the number of family business clients speaking to them about wealth protection and succession planning strategies over recent months.
And more than 60 per cent said they would look to alter their approach to dealing with their clients as a result of the seminar.
Philip said: "The case study showed how different factors affected each of the five family members. Issues such as the family dynamic, career choices, property holdings, divorce and pre nuptial agreements all came into play to different degrees for the different individuals.
"With such a complex range of factors involved, it is simply not possible that one expert can give all the right answers for each of the people involved. Legal advice, for example, would need to come from a range of specialist departments, such as family, corporate and private client, and cover issues such as tax, the setting up of trusts, wills and property law. That is why it is so important to deal with a law firm which has experts in all these fields and can work effectively with existing advisers. "
Delegate Dani Saveker, from West Midlands-based Families in Business which offers specialist advice to family firms, praised Higgs for staging the event.
"It is heart-warming when firms such as Higgs dare to do something different. The event has helped delegates from a number of professions open their minds to a different, more inclusive, way of working which can only help in the future."
Higgs & Sons work from two offices in the Black Country - Waterfront Business Park in Brierley Hill and Kingswinford. The firm employs over 200 people, including 100 specialist lawyers.
To find out how Higgs can help your business call Philip on 0845 111 5050 or email Philip.email@example.com
Picture - l-r Ian Bond, Philip Barnsley and Nick Taylor