The mission of the Institute for Family Governance (IFG) is to help implement strong governance that endures. This is achieved through multi-disciplinary collaboration and know-how exchange among trusted advisors (from the fields of law, psychology and family business consulting) and the families they serve.
View our About IFG page for more information.
chair & Vice-chairs
Babetta von Albertini, Ph.D. | Chair
Babetta von Albertini is the Chair of the Institute for Family Governance. She is an expert on U.S. tax law and governance who has advised international families and closely held businesses for approaching 20 years. She is General Counsel of ATM Capital Partners LLC, a single-family office, and separately continues to advise large international and domestic families on their tax, governance, and succession planning. Babetta is a dual-qualified common law/civil law attorney (admitted to the bars of New York and Zurich, Switzerland) and holds a Tax LL.M. from NYU and a Ph.D. in law from the University of Zurich. Previously an international estate planning attorney with Withers for nine years and a corporate finance attorney with Shearman and Sterling for three years, Babetta currently also serves as an elected U.S. representative on the STEP Global Council.
John E. Oden | Vice-Chair
John is a Principal and twenty-five year veteran of AllianceBernstein ("AB"), a global money management and research firm with over U.S. $500 billion under management through forty-eight offices in twenty-three countries. He has senior responsibilities in working with the firm’s non-U.S. and offshore clients, and currently heads the firm’s family office and private wealth business in Asia, in addition to similar client responsibilities in the U.S. John is the Founder of the China-U.S. Business Alliance, an organization of the senior professional advisors in both the U.S. and Asia who concentrate their business activities in China. He is a former Chairman of the New York Branch of STEP. Prior to AB, John spent ten years in real estate investment banking as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Cushman & Wakefield in New York, responsible globally for the firm’s business with financial institutions, including oversight for joint venture relationships in Japan and the U.K. John has served on numerous non-profit and charitable boards and investment committees, including Southwestern University, the St. George’s Society of New York, the Merchant’s House Museum of New York, the Manhattan School of Music, and the Greater Tumen Initiative in Beijing, China. A strong supporter of athletics, John writes and speaks about the sport of boxing. His first book, White Collar Boxing – One Man’s Journey From the Office to the Ring, was published in 2005. It was followed in 2009 by Life in the Ring – Lessons & Inspirations from the Sport of Boxing. He holds BA and MBA degrees from the University of Texas at Austin.
Dennis T. Jaffe, Ph.D.| Vice-Chair
Dr. Jaffe, a San Francisco-based advisor to families about family business, governance, wealth and philanthropy, recently completed the working papers Governing the Family Enterprise: The Evolution of Family Councils, Assemblies and Constitutions, Releasing the Potential of the Rising Generation, and Good Fortune: Building a Hundred Year Family Enterprise, published by Wise Counsel Research, based on his current research with global multi-generational family enterprises.
He is author (or co-author) of Cross Cultures: How Global Families Negotiate Change Across Generations; Stewardship in your Family Enterprise: Developing Responsible Family Leadership Across Generations, and Working With the Ones You Love, as well as management books Rekindling Commitment, Getting Your Organization to Change and Take this Work and Love It. His global insights have led to teaching or consulting engagements in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. The Family Firm Institute recently awarded him the 2017 International Award for service, and in 2005 he received the Beckhard Award for service to the field. He has a BA degree in Philosophy, MA in Management, and Ph.D. in sociology, all from Yale University, and is professor emeritus of organizational systems and psychology at Saybrook University in San Francisco.
John W. Ambrecht, Ambrecht & McDermott, LLP
John W. Ambrecht is a senior partner at Ambrecht and McDermott and focuses his practice on integrating sophisticated estate and tax planning with family business succession planning, including developing appropriate transitional structures with an emphasis on conflict resolution among generations and constructing a lasting framework for family business management and ownership succession. John’s practice also includes sophisticated multi-state domestic trusts and estate planning, national and international asset protection, and tax controversies (IRS).
Barbara R. Hauser, J.D., M.A., TEP
Barbara combines a strong trusts & estates legal background (Wellesley College, Penn Law, U.S. Supreme Court Clerkship, law firm partnerships) with a current advisory role for wealthy families and their family offices.
She has worked with many global families, including in Saudi Arabia, is the author of International Family Governance and International Estate Planning. She is the Advisory Editor of the STEP Global Family Office Handbook and of the fourth edition of Trusts in Prime Jurisdictions. She has been appointed to serve as Editor-in-Chief of The International Family Offices Journal. She chairs the international committee for the U.S. journal Trusts & Estates. She also founded the Linked In group “International Family Governance.”
She helps families create Family Constitutions, Family Councils, and Family Offices, and also provides an independent evaluation of family trust documents. She is an independent Board member of the Pitcairn Company, a recognized leader in the family office industry.
Barbara has received a number of awards and is active in The International Academy of Estate and Trust Law, l’Union Internationale des Avocats, the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel, the Wealth Advisors Forum and the Collaboration for Family Flourishing. She has published articles in STEP and FFI. She is a frequent speaker for groups in many countries.
Edouard Thijssen is one of the Co-Founders of Trusted Family. With a passion for technology and innovation, he identified a gap in the market for a communications platform designed for multi-generational business families looking to communicate more efficiently in a secure manner. At age 21, he established Trusted Family.
Edouard is a 2007 graduate of the Solvay Business School, with an undergraduate management degree. He has also completed the Leading the Family Business program at IMD, Switzerland. Edouard was on his way to the London School of Economics when his entrepreneurial instincts drove him to launch Trusted Family. The rest is history. As founder, he led the company as CEO until 2011. Then acted as Head of Americas and concentrated on Business Development and Client Services in North and South America. Today, Edouard serves as Co-Founder and CEO - since September 2016.
To access a presentation's slides, follow the blue title link. For some presentations, links to additional articles and notes are provided. For each file, enter the password that was circulated to 2018 conference attendees.
Dennis Jaffe & John W. Ambrecht
From the study of nearly 100 large, global families, we learn how these "generative" families are able to continually adapt, enhance and develop all forms of their family capital. Generative families invest in creating a great family, and in the development and engagement of their rising generations. They build their family values and vision into their various enterprises, and are able to continually reinvent themselves in new forms. Dennis will share stories of such families' special journeys and the ways that they move from a single wealth creator to a cross-generational teams that generate many forms of new wealth.
Article: Dennis Jaffe: "Governing the Family Enterprise: The Evolution of Family Councils, Assemblies and Constitutions"
Handout: John W. Ambrecht: "A Better Understanding of the Transition Drama: Building the Succeeding Governing Structure"
Handout: John W. Ambrecht: "A Checklist of Family Issues that Can Sabotage the Whole Family Business Estate Plan"
Nancy Drozdow & Mark E. Haranzo
Advisors to families committed to retain their collective stewardship of assets, have had success in offering structures to do so: family councils, family offices, family foundations, and others. Governing these structures has often been by trial and error — what skills are needed, what participation is wanted, and most critically, what purpose is served. In this, operating companies can stick out like a sore thumb, especially when the legacy family business is in the mix. Using a case illustration, a family with a 4th generation operating company, Nancy and Mark will explore the idea that structures are necessary, but not enough to overcome the centripetal forces that pull at increasing numbers and diversity of family. A framework and examples of reinforcing supports for governing across the enterprise will be provided.
Governance Tools for Global Families: Governance and Dispute Prevention Tools for Large, Family Controlled Businesses
Switzerland is home to a substantial number of large family held or controlled businesses, including global leaders like pharma company Roche. Since trusts are not widely used in civil law jurisdictions, how do families prevent disputes and insure a smooth transfer of the business to the next generation? How do they deal with the restrictions imposed by forced heirship rights? Manuel's presentation will use a case study to show how families owning or controlling a large business use a combination of a family holding company, shareholder agreements and succession pacts to keep control and peace.
The Organization and Governance of Family Wealth Management Structures - General Observations and Two Case Studies
Mario A. König
The establishment of wealth preservation and family governance structures requires intensive long term planning, an extensive due diligence on the respective family and its businesses, a well founded understanding of the family needs and requirements and of the risks the specific family is facing or might have to face in the future. Family governance structures should provide a framework within which family members can openly communicate, can create awareness of family values, family culture and family history, and maybe even define a family policy, mission statement or family constitution. The most important aspect of creating structures like these is to allow an open and transparent exchange of thoughts and views from the very beginning of the planning process as most wealth transfers fail because of the breakdown of communication and the resulting loss of trust within the family. Ideally therefore, legal structures established to hold family wealth should not be the only thing to keep family members together and interested. When a family is ready to establish governance principles for itself, it is the time to establish family governance institutions such as Family Meetings, Family Assemblies, Family Councils or a Family Office and to regulate these bodies' interaction.
Starting from these very general observations, Mario will present two case studies exemplifying two entirely different approaches to the organization and governance of family wealth management structures.
Zena M. Tamler, Thomas J. Wiegand, Robin Rathmell & John E. Oden
Mistakes and misunderstandings — among family members, or between a family and fiduciaries or others who provide services — can lead to discord and costly litigation. In many cases, better planning may be effective in avoiding problems. Our panelists will discuss their experiences with successful attempts to avoid litigation, as well as lawsuits where better planning or resolving issues as they arise may have avoided litigation. Contexts will involve trust administration, business succession, and divorce.
John A. Warnick
By the time family enterprises reach the third generation, at least 90% are held through an intricate web of family holding companies and long-term trusts. While the structural and tax complexity produces and ensures tax savings and asset protection, it too often leads to unintended negative consequences in the relational and behavioral realms. John A. has identified at least ten toxicities of long-term trusts among which are the Five D’s: Dependency, Dysfunction, Disempowerment, Dissatisfaction and Distrust. 99% of wealth creators are oblivious to the toxicities of dynasty and perpetual trusts. Attracted by the siren melodies of tax savings, asset protection and wealth preservation, the trust creator subjects current and future beneficiaries to these and other unintended negative consequences. Thankfully, there is a better way. Purposeful Planning is key to discovering the antidotes to these toxicities. John A. will introduce us to the new vocabulary of Purposeful Planning and offer a few simple, but easily mastered, tools which will transform the ways in which we design, draft and implement business transition and wealth transfer plans.
Family Education and Family Vision — What Actually Works?
Mitzi Perdue, Anne Jeffrey Wright & Edouard Thijssen
Over the generations, families get bigger, spread out geographically and become diverse. Keeping everyone aligned and the family together becomes more and more challenging. This panel will explore what families can do to keep their families together in the long run through shared family visions and family education programs. Join Edouard, Mitzi, and Anne to explore best practices around planning and executing on family education, and learn what the most subtle ways are to create and sustain your family vision that serves both value creation and preservation purposes for now and for future generations to come
James J. Ruddy & Babetta von Albertini
As families move from one generation to another a family office needs to recognize and adapt to the ever- changing environment within the family. New leaders emerge with contrasting ideas on family governance and how the family office should be structured for the future. In addition, changes in the law and regulations sometimes necessitates the need for an alternative structure. Jim looks back on over 40 years of dealing with family transition and the steps required to blend ideas together to accomplish a common family goal for the future.
Author of recently published book How to Make Your Family Last: Techniques, Advice, Checklists and Resources for Keeping the Family Business in the Family, Mitzi is heir to her father Ernest Henderson, co-founder of the Sheraton Hotel Chain, and her late husband, Frank Perdue, the second generation in the poultry company that today is now a fourth generation company that operates in more than 100 countries. She combines a unique perspective for this keynote address including two of America's long time successful family businesses. She holds an BA with honors from Harvard University and a MPA from George Washington University.
Dennis Jaffe & James Grubman
Babetta von Albertini
Susan R. Schoenfeld, Robin Rathmell & John Oden
Justin Rockefeller, Annarie Lyles & Edouard Thijssen
Doug Macauley, Bill Boer, Dave Albright & Drew Mason
Institute for Family Governance Ltd.
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