Welcome to the final Family Business newsletter of 2023. Like many UK CEOs, your priorities for the year ahead are likely to be shaped by the challenging environment for business. In our latest CEO Outlook, CEOs identified political uncertainty as the top threat to growth over the next three years. With a UK election likely in 2024, along with a significant number of country elections around the world scheduled for next year, most notably in the US, this comes as no surprise, particularly when one also considers the broader geopolitical climate.

Despite the ongoing uncertainty, the survey shows that Generative AI has become a top investment priority for many. Over 70% of CEOs say they plan to invest to realise a range of opportunities, including increasing profitability, developing new products and growing markets. I know from my own conversations with clients that there is huge interest in this topic already and this will only grow further. To build trust in the technology, businesses must act responsibly to safeguard individuals’ privacy. Our Privacy in the world of AI insight paper provides a thorough briefing on the topic.

The cost-of-living crisis, which is also on the minds of CEOs, is shaping attitudes and giving rise to caution among VC investors into the UK. Nevertheless, our quarterly Venture Pulse survey reveals that VC investment remained stable in the third quarter of 2023.

At KMPG, we are committed to supporting you through these uncertain times. Our Family Business Leadership Academy is just one example of the tailored support we provide for family businesses. In September, KPMG UK and the University of Leeds were delighted to welcome the first cohort of participants onto campus for the Family Business Leadership Academy, designed and delivered as part of our strategic partnership. We had a fantastic range of businesses in attendance with second to fourth generation future family business leaders at Nexus Leeds, the University's innovation hub, getting to grips with topics from governance to sustainability. The course aims to cover the key areas facing family businesses today, helping participants learn how to lead through change and to leave a lasting legacy on their family business. You’ll be pleased to learn, applications are now open to join our next cohort in 2024. If you or someone in your family business would like to find out more, please get in touch via our application form or by reply to this email.

There is an opportunity to join us at a special digital event on 13 December where we will be reflecting on the outcomes from the COP28 climate conference. Register now to be part of the discussion and hear about some of the KPMG initiatives launched at COP28, including Green Financing and how to scale the deployment of renewables.

If you can’t make the event, why not join our Beyond Family Business Community? KPMG Private Enterprise Beyond provides access to free expertise and solutions, helps you build powerful connections across the family business community and discover personalised insights for your business. Joining also gives you access to exclusive events, where we explore some of the biggest business challenges with influential speakers and leaders.

Finally, we have news this month of some important changes for KPMG Private Enterprise Family Business. Tom McGinness, who has been leading our global family business network for the past five years, is retiring after 33 years with the firm. Tom will continue to support private businesses by taking a lead on developing our strategy to help them realise their ESG goals. I want to say a huge thank you to Tom for being such a proactive and passionate advocate for family businesses over his career.

As Tom moves over, I will be taking on leadership of the Family Business team in the UK. It’s an exciting prospect and I look forward to continuing to develop our services and support for you.

As we move into the festive season, keep a look-out for new family business blogs, with practical advice to help you meet your most pressing business challenges. If you would like to discuss any of the issues raised in this newsletter or any other matters, please reach out to me or my colleagues. In the meantime, I wish you and your families, companies and colleagues, a peaceful and happy festive season and a prosperous new year.