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Deloitte: Family-owned businesses make up the largest sector of the GCC economy

Deloitte appoints new Leader to head its family office offering in the Middle East


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29 June, 2014 - Approximately 80% of non-oil GDP within the Middle East region is accounted for by family-owned business groups. Typically, these privately-owned organizations span multiple business, are vertically integrated, own sizeable real estate portfolios and their operational control is still maintained by the original founding family member or the second generation.
For many families in business, the rapid pace of change and growth in the marketplace presents significant concerns regarding the manner in which they will continue to safeguard and preserve their heritage and wealth. Family-owned businesses in the Middle East face a range of challenges that affect not only the success of the business itself, but also the professional and personal goals of their owners and their stakeholders at large.

Walid S. Chiniara, an international lawyer with over 30 years- experience across the five continents and a leading family business advisor has joined Deloitte as the Partner in charge of its Private Client Services practice (PCS) across the Middle East.

PCS is a private client-focused practice, that brings in Deloitte’s multi-disciplinary professionals to offer families in business and next generation family business entrepreneurs in the GCC and the MENA region bespoke and region-specific solutions in the area of family governance, succession planning and generational change, wealth management, tax structures and exit strategies.

“This is an exciting time for the Deloitte family and I am pleased that Walid Chiniara, one of the most experienced Family Office Advisors in the Middle East, is joining the firm to lead the Private Client Service (PCS) unit,” said Omar Fahoum, chairman and chief executive at Deloitte Middle East.

Deloitte recently conducted a survey on family-owned businesses to assess two specific areas that have an impact on their companies’ operations and growth: governance and succession. The findings of the survey based on the input of 222 survey respondents indicate gaps in governance, board operations, and succession planning.

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Nearly half (49 percent) of respondents say they only review succession plans when a change in management requires it and 41 percent do not have leadership contingency plans.
  • More than 80 percent of respondents say their boards have no term or age limits on membership and one-third do not evaluate board members’ performance.

Deloitte believes that the needs of families in business are different from those of public corporations. Therefore, Deloitte Middle East’s Private Client Services offering is continuously adapting to ensure that it addresses all facets of a family’s wealth, including its human, intellectual, cultural, and financial capital.

Nauman Ahmed, regional tax leader at Deloitte Middle East comments: “The aim of the PCS division is to provide business families with the tools they need to preserve and grow their wealth – both now and for generations to come. The appointment of Walid, with his extensive experience working closely with families in business will further support our ability to better serve our clients and build on the technical capability that Deloitte is renowned for”.

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