Entrepreneur Series - The Wee Family on the importance of connected values

Preserving your family’s wealth is not all about financial structuring. In fact, as Rosalind Wee and her family demonstrate, avoiding the generation trap has more to do with communication, principles and values.

The Wee's built their successful business from a seaweed extract known as carrageenan, which is widely used in the food industry for its stabilising properties. Rosalind has since retired from day-to-day management of the company but some of her children have now taken the helm under her husband's leadership.

To ensure cohesion and a sense of purpose, the family has adopted a constitution and by-laws to create a set of rules that outline common values and a business mission. These form the foundation to allow open dialogue between all the family members, as communication is vitally important for successful and sustainable succession planning.

This mantra proved invaluable when one of Rosalind's sons, Cesar, chose to leave the business to set up his own real estate venture. This could have been a source of tension and conflict of interest, but a solid decision-making framework and a disciplined approach to family meetings allowed Cesar and the rest of the family to forge a mutually beneficial path that has seen both businesses thrive.

The Wee family business is already three generations strong, which means they have to confront issues around transition, professional management and dividend policies head on. Their future depends on it. The real secret to preserving wealth is to focus on staying connected by preserving family relationships and common values, the rest will fall into place and enable family businesses create the legacy they want.

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