Often unfairly underestimated: Family influenced businesses

Family managed companies or companies influenced by families not only often have an excellent reputation, but there are also many “hidden champions” among them. They are also regarded as the backbone of the economy, are able to hold their ground internationally, and often cope with economic crises better.

Familienunternehmen als Investment-Thema, illustriert durch eine persönliche Begrüssung mit herzlichem Händedruck im Sitzungszimmer

Scientific studies show that companies that are influenced by families tend to perform better on the market than companies that do not have family influence. But why is it that way? There are three main factors:

Key factor 1—the voice of the shareholders has more weight

Family members as large stockholders in their companies can ensure that the management represents the interests of the shareholders in the long-term and that business management performance incentives are in agreement with shareholder interests.

Key factor 2—long-term corporate strategy

Companies influenced by families are less susceptible to short-term thought patterns and to management that is oriented by quarterly results like it can be with companies with more strongly fragmented shareholders. These sorts of shareholders can quickly become nervous when longer-term capital expenditures have a negative effect on short-term returns.

Key factor 3—strong attachment to core competencies

Family members employed in a company show a strong attachment to core competencies. They tend to not over-diversify the company and are hesitant to step into less familiar business areas.


Three reasons that point to success:

  • Short decision-making paths
  • Trust-based corporate culture
  • Very high equity ratio

Three situations with conflict potential:

  • Unclear corporate succession
  • Dependency regarding specialist knowledge or capital
  • Power struggles among the owners


Not all family influenced businesses are successful. However, the essential characteristics that enable the sustainable success of a company are often firmly anchored for generations in family-owned companies. This knowledge can open up exciting investment options for you as an investor—worldwide and across all industries.