The outstandingly successful entrepreneurs featured here in the Birmingham Post Rich List share many of the same qualities of leadership, endeavour and business acumen – but once at the top, what comes next? Phillip Wood , head of the Midlands region for UBS Wealth Management, takes a look.


Casting an eye over the 2016 Rich List , it is immediately evident how many of its members are self-made. Yet, despite the breadth of industries and backgrounds, all have one thing in common: their capacity to influence their legacy.

For entrepreneurs on the list, this is especially relevant. They are typically highly-motivated, dynamic individuals with one eye constantly trained on what comes next. In most cases, their life’s work is their business, in which they have invested countless thousands of hours. Yet planning beyond it is all too often an afterthought.

Getting it right takes time and tenacity

Your legacy can take the form of financial and business succession, philanthropy, angel investing or how you secure your family’s future. Any one of these takes time to get right and – as with many opportunities – the answers may not be readily apparent. Let’s take the first two as examples.

Creating an effective succession plan

From legal and tax requirements to cultural and emotional aspects, the considerations are many and varied. As in so many walks of life, the right decision can be the hardest one. For instance: Would my kids be better off if I left them everything, or nothing? Much may depend on how confident you are that the next generation will respect your values, especially if you are passing on a business you have toiled to build. Addressing succession questions early allows time to explore the available options and reach an outcome that affords you peace of mind.

See all Rich List 2016 entrants here.

Giving your all to philanthropy

This boils down to whether you wish to invest in the world you want rather than simply the world you’re in. The potential to create positive social change through charitable giving or values-based investments is a fascinating and ever-expanding field. Whether you are looking to more systematically incorporate environmental, social or governance factors into your investment decisions, or to use charitable giving to feed into a vision of meaningful change, the opportunities are almost endless.

Just as you value an external perspective on your business to help you reach better decisions, so can an outside view help you to determine your legacy. The sheer scale of options and complexities makes it necessary to start planning sooner rather than later. Which is where UBS comes into its own. We may be the world’s leading wealth manager, but we know that local relationships are key. My team is proud to be based right here in Birmingham, combining a clear understanding of the region’s dynamics with global investment expertise to help you wherever your interests may lie.

Listening is the bedrock of any relationship

Whatever it is you want to achieve, we believe first and foremost in listening – to what wealth means to you, about your priorities for your finances, your family and your life. We make no bones about the fact that you will do most of the talking in any early meetings with us. It allows us to find out what is important to you and help you build a plan to achieve it.

We also recognize that priorities change over time. Very few people have the same goals at 25 years of age as they do at 45 or 65. Evolution and learning is a natural part of your life as a business person. This approach should be reflected in how you look to secure your goals – setting clear parameters but maintaining flexibility as your environment changes. So whether you are already on the Rich List or aspire to one day be considered for it, you can create a lasting legacy.

* Phillip Wood has been head of the Midlands region for UBS Wealth Management since 2008. He is based in the firm’s Birmingham office, which was established in 2004.