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“No, you do not do that. You do not put your


one child in the situation where his two siblings, who know nothing about the business, are going to have effective control over the board,” he says passionately, for a moment breaking his normally calm demeanour. White’s views are formed from first hand


experience. At one point his father wanted to give him a half share in a farm the family had bought for his brother Paul, and split the ownership share in the real estate business. White resisted it as he did not want a share in a cattle farm and could see the future problems if either business got into financial trouble. “If I had said yes, I wouldn’t be here today,”


he reflects.


TRANSFERRING THE DEED Succession is a topic so close to White’s heart since many of the franchise owners in Ray White’s business are themselves family businesses. “In our company we have got so many franchises


and family businesses themselves. I get involved a lot in these discussions. It is so important for us to get that succession right. The whole essence of family business is how you work the succession,” he says. So what is his advice to these franchisees? “I ask, ‘Who is going to run the operating


business?’ If so, he or she must have control. And if


It is so important that as a parent you let your kids have a go


that means it is not equal, well then tough. As long as there are some other assets that can be used to say, ‘Okay, you get the business and you’ll get more of the house than your sibling’. But do not give a poisoned chalice to the next generation by giving them half and half,” he says. How does Ray White’s succession work at present


then, if White is so resistant to split ownership? “It is a work in progress. Everyone understands


what is going on and all of them are getting a red hot go with their individual businesses,” he says. How does the family communicate between


themselves? “I am encouraging each of my boys to treat the


business as their own, so they tend to say [to me], ‘We have made the decision to do this’, rather than ‘I’d like to debate this’. All three have shares in the main Ray White


company in addition to the areas they are responsible for. They communicate with Andrew Jamson, the head of the White Family Office and honorary member of the White family (as he’s referred to on their website), about decisions made with their individual ventures. Jamson is the only non-family member of Ray White Group’s five person, all-male board. “[Andrew] knows everything that is happening


in the company. He knows more about what is happening than I do,” quips White.


Left: Brian White: “Paul and I have been the custodians of the company for a part of its history—but the strongest fulfilment of our company’s ambitions will come through the next generation”


Opposite top: In 2014, Ray White Group announced it had grown out of its corporate office in central Sydney after only five years and was seeking alternative office accommodation


18


CAMPDENFB.COM


ISSUE 74 | 2018


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