HLB Mann Judd is proudly celebrating its 40 year anniversary. To commemorate the milestone, we asked some of our incredible leaders to share how they are helping HLB’s clients prepare for the challenges of tomorrow.
Georgina Ridhalgh’s story
Growing up, both my parents owned and operated businesses, including family businesses so working with multiple generations of families and their businesses now feels as though my life has come full circle.
I was always interested in my family’s businesses and completed a Bachelor of Commerce at university before getting my start with HLB Mann Judd Sydney as a graduate. Fast forward some 15 years and I’ve recently been promoted to director within the firm’s private and family business division.
There are not too many people my age who have been with the one firm their whole career, but there is so much synergy between HLB and the way I advise my clients.
The beauty of my role is, without question, the variety. I provide family office services, bringing together the expertise of other technical experts at HLB Mann Judd, such as tax, wealth management and audit specialists, in providing a family with a holistic framework of advice.
Family offices are such a dynamic and ever-changing environment to work in, and there’s also a real human element too, where you’re not only juggling the demands of the business, but also the competing demands of individual family members.
Many of my family client groups are setting aside significant wealth to carry out philanthropic activities and as such, some have set up charities. These families spend considerable time determining the charitable purpose for these charities and it provides them with great satisfaction to give back to the community. As part of the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC) guidelines, it’s crucial that these charities retain their charitable status and remain viable.
Another area requiring particular attention is estate planning where I work closely with our legal and tax specialists. Because of the multi-generational nature of family offices, wills and other structures are an important part of the advice provided. Speaking to my clients on a regular basis, you get to know them exceptionally well and can therefore provide them practical and tailored advice.
The ultimate success you have with a client comes down to the strength of the relationship. This gives you the ability to ask difficult questions and means the client will also provide honest answers and feedback. It’s the only way to ensure the provision of quality and timely advice.
Succession planning in some families is not always spoken about openly and transparently, but it’s a crucial part of the advice framework. As their trusted adviser, communication and dialogue with the appropriate family members needs to be maintained, and the right message communicated at the right time, and with discretion.
These families want to see the next generation succeed and provide them with the opportunity to potentially expand and grow the business further. Providing advice around structures which protect assets and minimise tax are therefore important.
For my own family – including two young boys – I couldn’t do what I do without their support, and certainly not without the support of HLB Mann Judd.
It’s not unusual for people at the firm to have long tenures, and often if they leave for another firm, they return. The values and the culture have long been the firm’s strength, and COVID has forced people to reprioritise their expectations of the working environment.
Drawing upon this experience, I mentor some younger members of the firm. It’s important to give the next generation of directors or partners confidence in their work and their career progression, and also give them some certainty when they return from parental leave, for example.
My advice to them is really simple – remain curious, keep reading and invest in their own career. If you take the extra time now, it will pay dividends in the future.
Georgina is a client-driven trusted adviser who works primarily with family businesses and large high net worth family groups. She is focused on developing strong and long-term relationships with clients. Together with her technical knowledge and experience, Georgina provides timely and practical tailored outcomes. This has seen Georgina develop long standing relationships with clients which spans multiple generations.
Georgina provides accounting, income tax and financial administration advisory and support to clients. She is also involved in several large Charitable Foundations.