The Institute of Family Business
The 16th National Congress of Family Business was organised by the Institute of Family Business (IEF) in collaboration with the Andalusian Association of Family Enterprise (AAEF), and sponsored by KPMG in Spain and Banco Santander. The collaboration between IEF and KPMG arose from shared recognition of the special significance and strategic importance that family businesses have, from multiple perspectives, for society and the economy.
The agreement also addressed the desire of both parties to explore other avenues of collaboration. The IEF has 16 Regional Family Business Associations, which encompass 1,100 companies from all sectors and are among the leading companies in their respective regions. These companies, together with the hundred larger members of the Institute, have an annual combined turnover exceeding 27% of the Spanish GDP.
The National Congress of Family Business
Held over 27–29 October 2013 in Jerez de la Frontera in Cádiz, this event brought together leading national and international politicians, entrepreneurs, and experts to disseminate best practice in economic policy, corporate strategy, international markets, business management, corporate governance, leadership, training, and generational succession. The objectives of the Family Business Congress include:
- being the premier forum for Spanish entrepreneurs;
- highlighting family business concerns to the general public;
- being a facilitator between national politics and business as well as sharing best practices of world-leading experts.
The Family Business Congress drew some of the world’s biggest investor funds and their leaders as keynote speakers, including Howard Marks, Jim Eun, and Brian Li, among others. In addition, the Congress featured representation from international family businesses, as well as Family Business organisations from France, Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, and the Middle East.
The official opening was chaired by HRH The Crown Prince of Spain, who called for the development and promotion of national and European initiatives to encourage entrepreneurship, as well as Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) financing. He shared with the audience how Spanish family businesses were facing the crisis, the need to strengthen the sector and restore confidence, both in country and in the wider global market as the sources of finance and foreign investment.
The Prince of Asturias was quoted as saying:
“In the complex economic situation we are experiencing, the companies grouped under the IEF have adapted to seek opportunities beyond our frontiers. You are open to the world with a multi-dimensional view that allows you to be stronger and more competitive. This push to internationalise the family business is serving as a model and spearhead for other companies in our country.
Your businesses are an example for a large number of SMEs, and many families also, that make up the Spanish business, to the extent that it seeks, also, to assert a successful path of growth, innovation and development.”
The inauguration also featured guests such as the Deputy Prime Minister, Soraya Saenz de Santamaria, the President of the Junta de Andalucía, Hon. Ms. Susana Diaz, Javier Marín, CEO of Banco Santander, the Mayor of Jerez, Hon. Ms. María José García-Pelayo, and Jeronimo Jimenez, President of the Andalusian Association of Family Enterprise, among other authorities.
Encouraging entrepreneurship and SME financing
The President of the Institute of Family Business (IEF), José Manuel Entrecanales, said that Spain, as the country on the European periphery in the last year, has benefited from the regained confidence in the Euro. He argues that the pattern of the Spanish economy’s growth continues, based on the increasing annual export volume, which grew by more than 28,000 million Euro, so that the weight of exports in GDP is 33%, ahead of countries like the UK (32%), Italy (30%) and France (27%).
However, exports are not enough, having compensated only 10 of the 17 points that the collapse of domestic demand reduced GDP by since the beginning of the crisis. Thirty percent (A) of the productive capacity of the Spanish industry is underutilized, and 6 out of 10 Spanish companies declared losses in 2012 – and among those with positive accounting profit, it’s down about 50% compared with 2007.
Entrecanales stated that in 2012, government spending reached an all-time high of 494 million Euro, whereas public investment hit an all-time low of 18,151 million Euro. He noted that unproductive spending needed to be reduced in order to increase the percentage of public investment. He also said during the Congress that the output of the economic crisis is a revival of domestic demand, and called for the increase of public and private investment, lower financing costs, and to consolidate a stable fiscal and regulatory framework conducive to economic growth.
The Spanish tax burden
According to Entrecanales, investing requires a stable, growth-friendly fiscal and regulatory framework, especially in those sectors which are regulated and whose needs are long-term investment. Entrecanales was quoted as saying:
“In this situation of enormous increase in the tax burden, family businesses have to reiterate to the Government of Spain our request for a fiscal framework conducive to economic growth. A framework that is not subject to continuous variations or which drowns operational capability or initiative because of the steady increase in the tax burden.”
Supporting José Manuel Entrecanales’ statement were a number of experts in the field of investment, economic policy, governance and strategy.
Investing in family business in Spain
Peter Bakker, President of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and an expert in corporate responsibility, spoke on moving from vision to action. Howard Marks, President of Oaktree Capital, was perfectly placed to discuss investment management; himself a fund investor managing more than 75,000 million dollars in America, Europe, and Asia.
He’s also the author of the book, “The most important thing”, which explains the keys to success in the world of investments and the pitfalls that can destroy capital or ruin a career.
Investment for economic growth
Luis María Linde, Governor of the Bank of Spain, spoke on the topic of development banking, and was followed on by Brian Li (Deputy CEO of Bank of East Asia) and Jim Eun (CEO of Magellan SK Capital Partners). Given Li’s responsibility for the bank’s business in China and international markets, and Eun’s experience in capital funds and the investment sector, they were the right choices for hosts of a roundtable on Spain’s potential in the Asian market.
The Business Council for Competitiveness (CEC) consists of 15 large companies and the Institute of Family Business, and CEC representatives closed off the first day of the Congress with a focus on exports.
Speaking on ideas for improving competitiveness, helping economic recovery, and strengthening international confidence in Spain, César Alierta (Chairman of Telefónica and Chairman of the CEC) and Fernando Casado (Director General of the CEC) were among the highlights of the conference.
Alejandro Bailleres, CEO of GNP (Grupo Nacional Provincial), and Jerome Gerard, President of Mexico Retail Properties, hosted a panel discussion on Mexico as an opportunity for Spain. Bailleres is part of a leading Mexican family business and Gerard heads a fund that manages more than 5,000 million dollars in investments.
For more information about the National Congress of Family Business, go to www.iefamiliar.com.