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Rich business owners are rethinking retirement in pandemic’s fallout

Entrepreneurs and families surveyed in the US were more likely than those elsewhere to be considering either delaying and accelerating their plans, report shows.
Image: Jose Sarmento Matos/Bloomberg

Wealthy business owners worldwide are increasingly rethinking their plans for retirement in the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, a survey found.

More than half of the 920 individuals and families who own businesses surveyed by BNP Paribas SA and Aon said they’re altering the timetable for stepping away from their companies, with 41% delaying or phasing more slowly into a move and 13% accelerating it. Entrepreneurs and families surveyed in the US were more likely than those elsewhere to be considering either delaying and accelerating their plans, the companies said in a report.

The pandemic is forcing many of the world’s rich to reconsider their succession arrangements, while also causing employees across the US, Asia and Europe to reevaluate how they work and live. Billionaires will transfer more than $2 trillion within the next two decades to their children, according to research by UBS Group AG and PwC, and the virus is helping accelerate that wealth shift.

Wu Yajun, 57, one of China’s richest women, put her daughter in charge of their family office last year after transferring a stake in the property empire that made their fortune. Mexico’s Juan Francisco Beckmann, 81, recently handed over control of a New York condominium to his daughter after giving her a stake a few years earlier in Becle SAB, the owner of Jose Cuervo tequila.

Members of the next generation “are being more and more empowered,” Vincent Lecomte, BNP Paribas Wealth Management’s chief executive officer, said in an interview. Older business owners are often delaying retirement to “ensure a smooth transition.”

© 2021 Bloomberg

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