Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations. From the stables to the stars and back to the stables in three generations. Clogs to clogs in three generations. Wealth never survives three generations – from the Chinese saying fu bu guo san dai.
Versions of this proverb exist in different cultures around the world. They are often disputed and challenged for lacking evidence and being disrespectful to younger generations.
Whether myth or reality, the caution is about much more than being able to manage, grow or sustain financial assets or operate a business. It points to a number of challenges:
The complexity around maintaining and developing family ties increases from generation to generation, as does nurturing individual family members. Complications can also arise as the family grows and spreads across different locations.
What can families do?
Studies such as Wise Counsel Research’s work exploring 100-year-old family businesses1 and Williams and Preisser’s research conducted in 2003, reveal some common themes on effective practices2. Successful generational transitions in wealthy families require intent, communication and preparation. The results demonstrate that focusing on the people within the family and maintaining strong relationships is as important as business resilience and success.
However, talking about wealth and developing a shared vision and purpose for the future is a difficult –and sometimes taboo – task for families around the world. Each generation has its own set of concerns, which they can find difficult to express to each other.
For example, older generations may:
Equally, younger generations have their own sets of questions:
Finding a solution can take several months or years and requires input from all generations, including:
It’s a continuous and evolving journey. Some families choose to write their conclusions down in the form of a family constitution, which is not a legally enforceable agreement but more of a ‘family pact’ that creates clarity and guides how they will work together.
Culture influences communication
As Grubman and Jaffe discuss in Cross cultures: How global families negotiate change across generations3, culture plays an important role in how discussions about family wealth are tackled. Our experience also suggests there are specific characteristics inherent in different cultural groups and how they tend to operate.
In certain areas of the world where a family has developed their financial assets quickly, the generation creating the wealth often avoids having discussions about what to do with it. Among other reasons, this is often because they feel insecure about wealth and anxious that it may disappear as rapidly as it came.
The people involved in the conversations can vary across cultures. For example, in the Middle East and Asia, women have not traditionally been involved in financial decisions as it was believed that they would marry into – and therefore become part of – another family. However, this is changing as families only have daughters and moreover they are highly qualified and keen.
Culture also influences how discussions are held and decisions reached. In societies across North America, western and northern Europe and Australia, for example, adult family members can expect to be equal participants in a discussion with older generations and can express disagreement openly. In other cultures, the generational hierarchy is important and a respect for elders needs to be maintained. Final decisions are made or need to be approved by the elders.
Culture can also affect the style of communication. For instance, in many Eastern, Southern European and South American cultures, communication is indirect, nuanced and can appear vague. This style means that hierarchies and relationships are respected and any difference of opinion does not bring confrontation or embarrassment. Meanwhile, in North America, northern Europe and Australia, effective communication is largely described as being direct and clear, promoting trust.
In a globalised world, it is unsurprising that the families we advise are experiencing a greater degree of cross-fertilisation between cultural styles as they plan to transfer wealth. From the younger generations studying at universities abroad to branches of business-owning families living in different locations, they are bound to be influenced by the communication and decision-making styles of other cultures.
For example, take the second son of an Indian business-owning family who wants to speak to the patriarch about a leadership role. He knows that tradition demands this position is given to his older brother. However, the second son believes he is better qualified than his brother, having been educated at Wharton Business School.
Another example is the communication challenge of the third generation of a Hong Kong Chinese business-owning family, with branches living in Italy, the US and Shanghai. Due to the distance between them, they haven’t spent much time together and have absorbed the cultures of where they have been brought up. They are now coming together to work out how to combine their cultural views and influences to organise and manage their shared assets.
What does this mean for wealth planning?
The loss of wealth and family relationships in times of generational transition is a global concern. Studies show that alongside business innovation and the proper management of financial assets, successful family enterprises also need a family governance strategy. Having a plan in place enables families to build capacity and help individual members of the unit become stewards for future generations. This process begins with communication and discussion, as well as formulating a way to make decisions together. There is no one-size-fits-all ‘best practice’ – the process needs to work with the cultural style of each family, whether it is more aligned to their home culture or a combination of cultures.
1 Jaffe, Dennis, ‘Succeeding against all odds: Lessons learned from 100-year business families’, Trusts & Estates magazine (August 2016)
2 Williams and Preisser, ‘Preparing heirs: Five steps to a successful transition of family wealth and values’ (2003)
3 Jaffe, Dennis and Grubman, James, ‘Cross Cultures: How Global Families Negotiate Change across Generations (2016)
All market and economic data as of March 2019 and sourced from Bloomberg and FactSet unless otherwise stated.
We believe the information contained in this material to be reliable but do not warrant its accuracy or completeness. Opinions, estimates, and investment strategies and views expressed in this document constitute our judgment based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice.
Purpose of This Material
This material is for information purposes only, and may inform you of certain products and services offered by J.P. Morgan’s wealth management businesses, part of JPMorgan Chase & Co. (“JPM”). Please read this Important Information in its entirety.
GENERAL RISKS & CONSIDERATIONS.
Any views, strategies or products discussed in this material may not be appropriate for all individuals and are subject to risks. Investors may get back less than they invested, and past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. Asset allocation does not guarantee a profit or protect against loss. Nothing in this material should be relied upon in isolation for the purpose of making an investment decision. You are urged to consider carefully whether the services, products, asset classes (e.g. equities, fixed income, alternative investments, commodities, etc.) or strategies discussed are suitable to your needs. You must also consider the objectives, risks, charges, and expenses associated with an investment service, product or strategy prior to making an investment decision. For this and more complete information, including discussion of your goals/situation, contact your J.P. Morgan representative.
Certain information contained in this material is believed to be reliable; however, JPM does not represent or warrant its accuracy, reliability or completeness, or accept any liability for any loss or damage (whether direct or indirect) arising out of the use of all or any part of this material. No representation or warranty should be made with regard to any computations, graphs, tables, diagrams or commentary in this material, which are provided for illustration/reference purposes only. The views, opinions, estimates and strategies expressed in this material constitute our judgment based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice. JPM assumes no duty to update any information in this material in the event that such information changes. Views, opinions, estimates and strategies expressed herein may differ from those expressed by other areas of JPM, views expressed for other purposes or in other contexts, and this material should not be regarded as a research report. Any projected results and risks are based solely on hypothetical examples cited, and actual results and risks will vary depending on specific circumstances. Forward-looking statements should not be considered as guarantees or predictions of future events.
Nothing in this document shall be construed as giving rise to any duty of care owed to, or advisory relationship with, you or any third party. Nothing in this document shall be regarded as an offer, solicitation, recommendation or advice (whether financial, accounting, legal, tax or other) given by J.P. Morgan and/or its officers or employees, irrespective of whether or not such communication was given at your request. J.P. Morgan and its affiliates and employees do not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any financial transactions.
Legal Entity and Regulatory information
In the United States, bank deposit accounts and related services, such as checking, savings and bank lending, are offered by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC.
JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and its affiliates (collectively "JPMCB") offer investment products, which may include bank managed investment accounts and custody, as part of its trust and fiduciary services. Other investment products and services, such as brokerage and advisory accounts, are offered through J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (“JPMS”), a member of FINRA and SIPC. JPMCB and JPMS are affiliated companies under the common control of JPM. Products not available in all states.
In Luxembourg this material is issued by J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A (JPMBL), with registered office at European Bank and Business Centre, 6 route de Treves, L-2633, Senningerberg, Luxembourg. R.C.S Luxembourg B10.958. Authorised and regulated by Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) and jointly supervised by the European Central Bank (ECB) and the CSSF. J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A. is authorized as a credit institution in accordance with the Law of 5th April 1993. In the United Kingdom, this material is issued by J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A– London Branch. Prior to Brexit, (Brexit meaning that the UK leaves the European Union under Article 50 of the Treaty on European Union, or, if later, loses its ability to passport financial services between the UK and the remainder of the EEA), J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A– London Branch is subject to limited regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request. In the event of Brexit, in the UK, J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A– London Branch is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority, subject to regulation by the Financial Conduct Authority and limited regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority. Details about the extent of our regulation by the Prudential Regulation Authority are available from us on request. In Spain, this material is distributed by J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A., Sucursal en España, with registered office at Paseo de la Castellana, 31, 28046 Madrid, Spain. J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A., Sucursal en España is registered under number 1516 within the administrative registry of the Bank of Spain and supervised by the Spanish Securities Market Commission (CNMV). In Germany, this material is distributed by J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A., Frankfurt Branch, registered office at Taunustor 1 (TaunusTurm), 60310 Frankfurt, Germany, jointly supervised by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF) and the European Central Bank (ECB), and in certain areas also supervised by the Bundesanstalt für Finanzdienstleistungsaufsicht (BaFin). In Italy, this material is distributed by J.P. Morgan Bank Luxembourg S.A– Milan Branch, registered office at Via Cantena Adalberto 4, Milan 20121, Italy and regulated by Bank of Italy and the Commissione Nazionale per le Società e la Borsa (CONSOB). In addition, this material may be distributed by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. (“JPMCB”), Paris branch, which is regulated by the French banking authorities Autorité de Contrôle Prudentiel et de Résolution and Autorité des Marchés Financiers or by J.P. Morgan (Suisse) SA, which is regulated in Switzerland by the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (FINMA).
In Hong Kong, this material is distributed by JPMCB, Hong Kong branch. JPMCB, Hong Kong branch is regulated by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and the Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong. In Hong Kong, we will cease to use your personal data for our marketing purposes without charge if you so request. In Singapore, this material is distributed by JPMCB, Singapore branch. JPMCB, Singapore branch is regulated by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Dealing and advisory services and discretionary investment management services are provided to you by JPMCB, Hong Kong/Singapore branch (as notified to you). Banking and custody services are provided to you by JPMCB Singapore Branch. The contents of this document have not been reviewed by any regulatory authority in Hong Kong, Singapore or any other jurisdictions. For materials which constitute product advertisement under the Securities and Futures Act and the Financial Advisers Act, this advertisement has not been reviewed by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. You are advised to exercise caution in relation to this document. If you are in any doubt about any of the contents of this document, you should obtain independent professional advice.
With respect to countries in Latin America, the distribution of this material may be restricted in certain jurisdictions. Receipt of this material does not constitute an offer or solicitation to any person in any jurisdiction in which such offer or solicitation is not authorized or to any person to whom it would be unlawful to make such offer or solicitation. To the extent this content makes reference to a fund, the Fund may not be publicly offered in any Latin American country, without previous registration of such fund´s securities in compliance with the laws of the corresponding jurisdiction. Public offering of any security, including the shares of the Fund, without previous registration at Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission – CVM is completely prohibited. Some products or services contained in the materials might not be currently provided by the Brazilian and Mexican platforms.
In Australia, J.P. Morgan Chase Bank, N.A. (JPMCBNA) (ABN 43 074 112 011/AFS Licence No: 238367) is regulated by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority. Material provided by JPMCBNA in Australia is to “wholesale clients” only. For the purposes of this paragraph the term “wholesale client” has the meaning given in section 761G of the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth). Please inform us if you are not a Wholesale Client now or if you cease to be a Wholesale Client at any time in the future.
JPMS is a registered foreign company (overseas) (ARBN 109293610) incorporated in Delaware, U.S.A. Under Australian financial services licensing requirements, carrying on a financial services business in Australia requires a financial service provider, such as J.P. Morgan Securities LLC (JPMS), to hold an Australian Financial Services Licence (AFSL), unless an exemption applies. JPMS is exempt from the requirement to hold an AFSL under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) (Act) in respect of financial services it provides, and is regulated by the SEC, FINRA and CFTC under US laws, which differ from Australian laws. Material provided by JPMS in Australia is to “wholesale clients” only. The information provided on this site is not intended to be, and must not be, distributed or passed on, directly or indirectly, to any other class of persons in Australia. For the purposes of this paragraph the term “wholesale client” has the meaning given in section 761G of the Act.
The information on this site has not been prepared specifically for Australian investors. It:
References to “J.P. Morgan” are to JPM, its subsidiaries and affiliates worldwide. “J.P. Morgan Private Bank” is the brand name for the private banking business conducted by JPM.
This material is intended for your personal use and should not be circulated to or used by any other person, or duplicated for non-personal use, without our permission. If you have any questions or no longer wish to receive these communications, please contact your J.P. Morgan representative.
© 2019 JPMorgan Chase & Co. All rights reserved.
INVESTMENT PRODUCTS ARE: • NOT FDIC INSURED • NOT A DEPOSIT OR OTHER OBLIGATION OF, OR GUARANTEED BY, JPMORGAN CHASE BANK, N.A. OR ANY OF ITS AFFILIATES • SUBJECT TO INVESTMENT RISKS, INCLUDING POSSIBLE LOSS OF THE PRINCIPAL AMOUNT INVESTED
Bank deposit products, such as checking, savings and bank lending and related services are offered by JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. Member FDIC. Not a commitment to lend. All extensions of credit are subject to credit approval.