Attitude to risk in wealthy families

Author: Charles Gowlland, James Kirk (

Categories: Business risk, Entrepreneurs, Family Business, Research
Tags: adverse league, high net worth families, inflation, legislation, markets, mismanagement, stability, tax
The attitude to risk will change depending on how much there is to lose. As Charles Gowlland explains in this TV show a Smith and Williamson survey found that threats to wealth are a common concern.

Fearful attitude to risk

There were a number of things, I think when we looked at the results of the survey we weren’t completely shocked or surprised by anything that came in and to a certain extent that gave us a lot of reassurance that we already had a good sense of what they were thinking and what they were worried about. So from that point of view there were no radical shocks. But I still think there were a couple of aspects that came out of it that were interesting to us. One of the areas was the concept of threats to wealth, I mean this is obviously one of the big long term issues for families. They’ve made their money or they’ve inherited it, how do they ensure that that money, that wealth persists through the generation and there were four main categories of threats to wealth as far as we could see it, and what was interesting I think about the response was that they were broadly similar in that people were equally worried about each of those and there wasn’t any particular split by, if I can put it like this, by how old the money was. So in other words these fears were common to all types of clients and those categories were legislative change that might be adverse league or tax, the financial mismanagement, the children squandering the money or volatility in financial markets. And included in those was inflation, and I think certainly for some families with a long and bitter history, inflation for them was a big worry.

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