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The Hopes and Fears of Business Owners in Wales

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A survey of business owners in Wales, commissioned by wealth management company Brewin Dolphin, has turned up some interesting statistics on how business owners in the region view their business, their wealth and their future.

The Brewin Dolphin Wales Business Owner Survey, which was undertaken by the company’s Wales office, ascertained business owners thoughts on the economy, their business, their approach to their own wealth and financial planning, and how they view succession planning when they decide to exit their business in the future.

Of those who responded, 63% had begun to think about their exit strategy but 51% did not know how they would exit their business. Only 54% of business owners understood how to plan their business exit strategy with 48% unsure how much wealth they needed to accumulate to have the lifestyle they want in the future. The survey also found that just over half (55%) of respondents thought they had the right team in place to ensure their business continued to thrive, even in their absence, indicating a skills gap.

The importance of getting advice

As well as ascertaining business owners’ views about their business, the survey also asked them how they plan their personal finances. The results showed that only 20% of respondents are receiving advice from a financial planner. This indicates that the value of seeking expert financial advice to help with planning for various life stages is not being availed.

The survey also found that only 32% of respondents are receiving advice in a business or personal capacity from an accountant, 18% from a solicitor, 18% from fellow business owners and 8% from corporate advisers (those who aid in selling a business), highlighting a key need for these professional services in Wales to engage more with business owners.

About the research

The research was conducted by Doopoll at the end of 2019, with 71 business owners from across Wales responding. The findings were due to be published in February 2020, however, with the Covid-19 pandemic taking hold, the survey’s launch was held until it was recently launched at the CBI Wales SME Network virtual event. Geraint Hampson-Jones, a senior investment manager at Brewin Dolphin’s Wales office and colleague Greg Tait, a financial planner at the Wales office, presented the main findings of the survey at the event.

Geraint Hampson-Jones, senior investment manager, Brewin Dolphin Wales, said:

“‘The Brewin Dolphin Wales Business Owner Survey was well received by the CBI SME Network. Comments indicated that the change in working practice and conditions as a result of Covid-19 have allowed people to reflect on their current circumstances – some see the opportunity to grow their business and working at home provides longevity in their work, while others view the change as an opportunity to review what is important to them and are more inclined to consider retirement or possible exit.”

He added:

“For us this highlights the changing business landscape, the importance of planning at every stage of the business life cycle and that succession planning should be considered as early as possible.”

A full report of the survey and its findings, together with the top five things for business owners to consider, is available at https://www.brewin.co.uk/insights/wales-business-owner-survey, and is free to download.