Voted #6 on Top 100 Family Business Influencers, your expert on Wealth, Finance and Investments: Jacoline Loewen LinkedIn Profile

Boomers will pass $4 Trillion to the Next Generation business owners over the next 5 years

The huge transfer of small business wealth is the last big direct impact that the baby boomers are going to have on the economy during their working lives, said Glenn Huber, president of Calgary-based private equity firm Chrysalis Acquisition Partners Inc. After that, boomers’ big influence will be mainly on the travel industry, retirement homes, and ultimately, the funeral business.
 
Jacoline Loewen, director of business development
Mr. Huber’s company has set up a fund, the Chrysalis Acquisition Fund 1, to buy up small and medium-sized businesses in Western Canada that are looking for an alternative to selling to heirs, employees, or individual buyers. In many cases the fund will partner with a small firm’s remaining management, providing the capital to help buy out the founder.
 
Jacoline Loewen, director of business development at UBS Bank (Canada)
 and an expert on small business succession, said the recession delayed the start of the boomer transition because many entrepreneurs did not want to sell out while the economy was weak. Now, she said, many are ready to think about it, although few have done the necessary preparation. That has created an even bigger bubble of small companies ready to change hands.
 
Ideally, business owners should begin thinking about transition five to 10 years before they leave, she said, and even before they hit their 50th birthday. In preparation, they should hire advisers, or at least set up an expert advisory board that can help guide them and provide contacts. But baby boomers tend to overestimate their health and stamina, and “stay on for far too long,” Ms. Loewen said.
 
The first choice for many small business owners is to have their children take over, Ms. Loewen said, although often the kids just aren’t interested, having seen the toll that running an enterprise can take. When the children are keen to take over, she said, a proper valuation of the business needs to be performed, and the next generation should be prepared to buy in – even competing with external buyers if necessary.
 
At Alps Welding, Mr. Dussin and his parents set up a structure where he received shares that will gain value as the business grows. Eventually, he can buy out his parents’ holding.
More importantly, Mr. Dussin said, was the gradual process of shifting managerial control from one generation to the next. He came in as vice-president 11 years ago, then took on more responsibility over time, becoming president about five years ago.
 
Mr. Dussin’s father is still involved, and that is a key aspect of baby-boomer business succession if it is to proceed smoothly. “This business is my father’s life … He doesn’t have a lot of interests outside of work. It is not like he has been waiting to play golf five times a week,” Mr. Dussin said.

PricewaterhouseCoopers, in a recent report, predicts a “highly competitive buyer’s market between 2018 and 2025” for family businesses, and suggests that many owners will not get the nest egg they hoped for.
 
Over all, the sale of small businesses in the coming decade will involve a massive transfer of assets – estimated at between $1-trillion and $4-trillion in Canada alone. And if many of those businesses simply close up shop, it could damage the economy through significant loss of employment.


Boomers will pass a small-business baton worth as much as $4-trillion

Selling your business? Can you avoid these 5 pitfalls?

Selling a business is harder than buying one. During the long process of selling, with the buyer kicking the tires in interest, the seller may find it hard to resist dropping the price as flaws and shortcomings become magnified. But whether the owners are keen to sell or not, their top concern will be to get the best price. Failing to get maximum valuation can occur for those owners taking on too much of the process themselves.
Why are prices adjusted downwards during a sales process? Here are a few common reasons about why sellers may get a less than top valuation:

1. My time is limited. Owners who have sold their businesses often complain about how long the process can take, and how it takes time away not only from customers, but from helping their teams keep operations running smoothly.
Gordon Forsythe, president of Compass Capital Corp. and buyer of companies, emphasizes the importance of knowing what you’re getting into. “Ideally, it would be beneficial for individuals who are considering selling their companies to understand how disruptive the sales process is to the day-to-day operation of their business,” he says. “The sales process typically becomes an all-consuming effort and unfortunately diverts attention and focus that is required to effectively operate the business.”

2. I am the smartest guy in the room. The mergers and acquisitions process is not something typical owners have done before, or if they have, it’s not their expertise. Owners often fall into the trap of thinking they are the best person to sell their businesses when in fact they should be focused on continuing to run the business.
Sure enough, they usually are the smartest guy in the room and could do whatever they want to achieve. For example, these capable entrepreneurs could fix their own dental cavity but why not get a true expert, the dentist? After all, dentists have trained and spent their career taking care of patients' teeth. It is the same for transition of the business. Find the experts and put your time into what matters more.

A mismanaged sale can have several ramifications, says Mr. Forsythe. “If employees begin to fear for their positions, they may retreat into self-preservation mode, and negatively affect the productivity and direction of the company. Likewise, clients may see this as an opportunity to re-evaluate their relationship with the company and look for alternative suppliers. If the purchase fails to transpire, the company may have wasted considerable resources, which would have been better spent growing the business.”
3. Let’s sell the whole thing. Sellers who investigate whether parts of their businesses could be carved out of the core and sold separately are sometimes able to spin off a division. They can take this additional capital and re-invest it into a growth strategy or use the liquidity to pay out a family member, partner or shareholder, for example, who wants out of the business. There’s no need go with the ‘all or nothing’ sales strategy.

4. A bird in the hand. Along comes a large, brand name company that wants to buy the business. If the first thing that comes to mind is “here’s a good offer, might as well take it as I may not get something like it in the future,” think again. When the seller chooses to go through the courtship process without lining up a range of alternative suitors, there’s the increased risk of falling in love with the prestige of the impressive big brand name and accepting an undervalued sale price as a result.

5. They should be happy to get us. Every owner thinks that his or her business is unique, and the relationships built with customers and suppliers are special. And though this may be true, the buyer may not feel the same way. Watch out for attitude during a sale, and exercise humility.

Due diligence isn’t just for buyers. Smart owners should hire their own corporate finance experts to eliminate surprises that could reduce the sales price. The seller can then be reassured that their house is in order and their strongest features and assets are put forward.

This article first appeared as a column - Special to The Globe and Mail
Jacoline Loewen is a director at UBS Bank (Canada), Wealth Management. She focuses on transitions for family businesses and closely held small to medium-sized enterprises, as they sell and move from being business owners to being managers of their wealth.


You can follow her on Twitter @jacolineloewen.

 

Sustainable Investing delivers winning stock portfolio over long term

Jacoline Loewen, Sustainable Investing, Vancouver, 2017
In Vancouver, presenting on Sustainable Investing. Bruno Bertocci, MD of the UBS Asset Management Sustainable Equity Investors team flew in from Chicago and lead a spirited discussion. Thank you to the Swiss Consulate for hosting UBS at the official residence of the Swiss Confederation. Great event and thank you to Vancouver. UBS team: Heiko Riese Billy Chin Dave Mason Heather Holden, PhD and a big thank you to Bruno Bertocci

Bruno Bertocci's thesis is that sustainable business practices can be much more than a cost, a good deed, or good public relations for businesses—it can be a source of competitive advantage. In his 35 years in the investment industry, Bruno has experienced that picking sustainable companies for investing does not mean forgoing a higher return.  


Bruno runs the UBS Global Sustainable Fund which brings a way to look at the relationship between business and society that does not treat corporate profits and societal well-being (including sustainability) as just a balancing exercise. It is good business and the consequences mean lowered reputational risk to brand equity, for example. 


United Airlines is experiencing the social consequences of their lack of sustainable corporate culture and their subsequent employee actions which shocked the travelling client base.


Bruno's investing strategy encourages public companies to discover opportunities to benefit society and themselves by strengthening the competitive context in which they operate, to
 determine which CSR or sustainability initiatives they should address, and to find the most effective ways of doing so.

Follow On Twitter @Jacolineloewen

What is the ROI of Golf?

 
For me, golf is hard. I only started playing a few years ago, primarily for business, and just when I think I am getting bearable on the golf course, the season ends. When I watch the professionals play - like Annika Sorenstam - they make it look easy. Annika swings her club and her ball goes exactly where she determines it should go. I watch her play to get some tips for myself and dream that my ball could also glide across the green and thunk into the hole. Annika has recently stepped down as #1 top female ranked golf player. Her ROI on golf has been substantial - world class and a huge draw for TV viewers and golf enthusiasts.
Annike has dedicated herself to the game and is an expert. This means her game is predictable and you can be confident she will be the top of her category. Those few feet between my attempts at getting  the ball in the hole and Annike's are actually worth a great deal of money - the ability to win world championships and making an income from playing the sport.
My ROI for golf is a lot of fun, getting out in the sunshine with friends and getting to play with business colleagues who cheerfully put up with my lack of competence.
What is your ROI on Golf?

Should children be taught in school how to become wealthy?

Do you think schools should be teaching their students how to become wealthy? It is a teachable subject, just like driving a car?
Last week, our team visited a high school for Junior Achievement to talk about becoming wealthy which is actually achievable for every teenager who was listening in that classroom. There you have it...everyone who was listening. It was shocking to have rude comments made by the teens to the team.
Yup. Unbelievable. Unless you are a teacher...
Wealth, I believe, starts at home. Attitudes of these smarty pants kids starts at home.
Do you think they will be a client of a financial advisor in a few decades? When they had the privledge of hearing from client advisors who handle millionaires' money, they needed to realize the impact on their future lives. Most of our clients made that money themselves and also were teenagers but often their stories illustrated their dedication to learning.
When I calculate the cost of salaries and bonus of our team, plus their good will and energy put forward, I wonder about the worth of such an outreach program.
What do you think?

Pierre Ouimet and Jacoline Loewen
From our magazine, Unlimited, I read the views on teaching wealth in schools made by Finland's Minister of Education:
Dr Marjo Kyllonen is the Education Manager for Helsinki. Having devised the blueprint for the future of Finland’s school system, she is playing a pivotal role in driving these changes through. She is doing so because she sees the structure and aims of current education systems in the West as increasingly irrelevant and obsolete, relics of an Industrial Age that we started to leave behind a long time ago. She argues that we need to rethink our entire relationship to education to equip future generations with the tools they need to face the challenges to come.

Do you think we should give much priority to teaching children how to become wealthy?
No, I don’t think that’s the role of the school. Of course, we’d like everyone to have a good life and be successful. But the way you’ve put it makes me think of a world where individuals are looking out for themselves – a “me first” culture. My picture of future society is totally different – I think people need to have social responsibility and understand that no one is doing well if there are others in society who are insecure and suffering.
What should our legacy be to future generations?
It’s not only us and our kids, it’s our grandchildren and their children – if we want our little human “club” to survive in the future we really have to think: what is sustainable? And how do we teach that to our kids? Not only ecological sustainability – social sustainability, too.
If you could change one thing about the way politics on Earth works right now, what would that be?
My friend, the former NASA astronaut Ellen Baker, told me that when she was in space, she saw how beautiful our world is. And there are no boundaries. Go far enough away and Earth looks very peaceful, no borders. She said to me that our politicians should go and have a space-trip, to see how beautiful our planet is and make peace.