We hope you had a great Christmas and a happy holiday season. To end the year, we summarize some themes and most read pieces from Family Business Director you may have missed throughout the year.
The more things change, the more things stay the same. Several themes from 2020 were back: COVID-19 was still a part of our lives, political divisions seemed to only widen, and Alabama is still in the college football playoff.
Tax overhauls from Washington were on theme too: big plans, followed by horse trading, name calling, special elections, and an infrastructure bill. In January (and April, August, September, and October) we did our best at the Family Business Director to summarize and digest the numerous proposed tax changes. But, at the end of the day, as of this writing, the Build Back Better (BBB) omnibus bill appears dead on arrival. Senator Manchin (D-WV) has publicly pulled support for the bill, leaving capital gains taxes, removal of the basis step-up, estate tax changes, and income taxes unchanged from the beginning of the year. After a year of tax consternation, it might be nice to ring in the new year with less tax anxiety immediately on the horizon. But rest assured, the fight is not over.
Lessons from the Public Markets
Family Business Director featured several articles and studies on public market data and meaningful stories for family business owners and directors. We summarize your favorites below:
- The 2021 Benchmarking Guide for Family Business Directors – How small companies fared relative to large caps in 2020.
- Can You Hear Me Now? Lessons from a $20 Billion Family Business Fight – A made-for-TV family business drama… in real life.
- Getting to the Top – The top 750 family companies and how it impacts you.
- Sanderson Farms Case Study – Lessons from a family business acquiring a public company.
- Built Ford “Family” Tough – How Ford’s investment in Rivian can help us think about diversification.
2021 Dividend Survey
This summer, we partnered with Family Business Magazine to conduct our inaugural survey of dividend practices at family-owned businesses. We featured an article that we wrote for the magazine summarizing the survey results and presented the detailed results to survey respondents.
A headline statistic from the survey indicated while about half of public companies pay dividends to shareholders, over 80% of the family businesses responding to our survey indicated that they do. However, nearly half of respondents reported not having a formal dividend policy. In other words, a significant group of family businesses are paying dividends, but they’re not sure why.
That Is the Right Question
Family business owners don’t stay on top by having all the answers, but by having the ability to ask the right questions. Family Business Director posed a few questions to spark important conversations. Readers’ favorite questions include:
- Why Do Buy-Sell Agreements Rarely Work as Intended? – How you should think about your buy-sell to stave off potential pitfalls, litigation, and unhappy shareholders.
- How Long Will It Take to Sell My Family Business? – A short overview of the sales process for a family business.
- Family Business Director’s Top Ten Questions Not to Ask at Thanksgiving Dinner – Avoid family squabbles over turkey with these questions not to ask.
- Should Your Family Consider a Family Office? – What are the benefits of a family office, and should your family consider opening one?
- Five Questions with Paul Hood – Interview with long-time estate planner focusing on taxes and achieving good estate planning results.
As we enter 2022, feel free to email anyone at Family Business Director with ideas, complaints, praise, or content ideas. We would love to hear from you, and we thank you for your continued readership.