Four challenges for Middle Eastern family businesses

I recently attended two family business forums, in Riyadh and Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia. At these events, many of the big issues faced by family businesses were discussed, such as succession, governance and the separation of management and ownership.

But I was struck by a common theme throughout many of the round table discussions: namely, the challenges that face family businesses in the Middle East. These challenges are not unique to the region, but they are more prevalent than in other regions.

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Family Offices in the Middle East

Despite having many substantially wealthy families, there are few single family offices (SFOs) and even fewer multifamily offices (MFOs) in the Middle East. Some estimates put the number of SFOs at between 60 and 75. Whether that’s right or not, most analysts think that there are many more families that could afford to run a family office than are currently doing so.

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