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UK offers help to strengthen family business

Jun 12. 2015
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By Myanmar Eleven

The UK Financial Services Taskforce, comprising the British Government and UK private sector organisations, hosted a seminar last week to share global experiences with local family business.

The June 11 event drew participants from government and business, including Professor Aung Tun Thet, economic advisor to President Thein Sein, Maung Maung Lay, vice-president of the Union of Myanmar Chambers of Commerce and Industry (UMFCCI), as well as over 75 representatives from the domestic and international business sectors.

Highlighted at the seminar was corporate governance and succession planning for family businesses as well as the family business’s role in contributing to the country’s overall economic efficiency and competitiveness.

“British businesses are increasingly interested and active in this country and many want to partner with local companies. Maximising these potential relationships will require a shared understanding and application of corporate governance. There are concerns amongst family businesses that corporate governance and family business structures cannot fruitfully co-exist. I hope that this event has helped disprove that thought,” said British Ambassador Andrew Patrick.

Kasper Nielsen, associate professor at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said at the event that for success, family business needs to create a balance between wealth and control and to prepare the succession of the business for sustained success.

“The way to achieve this is for a business and investors is to implement professional corporate governance, including accounting standards and developing a board of directors with relevant expertise,” he said.

The seminar was hosted following the signing of the memorandum of understanding between the United Kingdom and Myanmar to boost bilateral economic ties.

The taskforce, comprising the British government, Standard Chartered Bank, Prudential and Allen & Overy, was established in 2013 to support the holistic development of the country’s financial sector. Five foreign banks have opened their branches in the country as part of the financial liberalisation.

Aung Tun Thet welcomed the taskforce’s initiative in strengthening family business.

“Family business is not a sin. There are many examples of successful family businesses globally. The key to success is ensuring that sound corporate governance in implemented. This will help offer the best of both worlds; maintaining the virtues of family culture and incorporating outside expert advice,” he said.

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