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Analysis

Family businesses are benefitting from economic growth, says J.P. Morgan Private Bank

Jonathan A. Conner, head of J.P. Morgan Private Bank in the Middle East discusses family businesses and expansion in the GCC

 

Can you sum up the nature of the family business landscape in the GCC region? Also, how does it stand out against other regions?

 

Outside of the government-led upstream energy sector, family businesses make up a substantial portion of the economic output and wealth creation in the GCC region. From their humble beginnings as local merchants, enterprising families grew with the tremendous economic expansion of the region over the past five decades.

From the largest merchant families holding agencies across multiple sectors to those that have focused their efforts on a few core areas, family businesses represent the core of private enterprise. The degree to which this exists is certainly unique to this region.

 

Can you elaborate on how such firms are faring in the current economic climate? Is it possible to gauge family firms as a whole if they’re spread across verticals?

 

The past few years in the region have been characterised not only by the aftershocks of the global economic crisis, but also by geopolitical events that directly affect people and businesses in the region. While the length of the road to recovery has varied across the GCC region, it is enjoying a period of economic growth, benign inflation and rising energy prices, which provides the bedrock for regional wealth generation.

In addition, many families are benefitting from rising real estate prices, which is encouraging more commercial and residential developments to …

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