High net worth families keep conflict hidden

Author: Frank Akers-Douglas, James Kirk (

Categories: Family Business, Getting advice
Tags: counselling, family disputes
High net worth families may have high profile lives. Research by Smith & Williamson shows that wherever possible they will try resolve conflict within the family, as Frank Akers-Douglas explains in this TV show.

Conflict in high net worth families

I was very surprised that virtually all of the respondents have said ‘We don’t have family disputes’. You only have to read the press to read about some pretty high profile family disputes and if those are in the press imagine all the ones that aren’t. So I think there is more conflict than people probably care to admit to and it can start from something simple or it can be quite a complex and diverse issue. Again it’s trying to get involved, or perhaps I should go just back a step in that again in the survey most families said that where there was a dispute they would want to deal with it internally, i.e. within the family. Again I found that quite a strange answer because by definition if there is a dispute there is a dispute within the family and are they really best equipped to deal with it. So I think the answer is to get somebody, an external trusted advisor involved at an early stage just to try and talk to the party, if it’s a relatively straightforward dispute that should be simple to resolve. The more complex and the more sort of aggravational disputes are much more difficult and there I do think professional, whatever the right word is, counselling, is needed. For more insight in to advice and issues for high net worth families take a look at our briefing on family business.
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