Chandran Nair at the Asian Family Office Forum

Leaving a legacy


Chandran Nair, GIFT’S founder and CEO, called on leading business families and representatives present at the Asian Family Office Forum in Singapore to go beyond traditional charity and philanthropy.

“While charity can be useful, there are many exciting investment opportunities emerging which have a greater potential to address sustainable development challenges facing Asia.”

He also noted that charity and philanthropy had become celebrity activities and very often questions about how the wealth that was being given away was created in the first place were being ignored. He urged families to ask themselves these questions if they were keen on “doing good by doing well” and before they embark on philanthropy:

• Pay all taxes in all jurisdictions

• Meet all labor laws and pay for wages

• Ensure all environmental, health and safety results are met in all the businesse

Nair then went on to describe several projects which GIFT is currently involved in that feature entrepreneurs who are not only delivering high-demand products, services and technologies but are also enhancing the livelihoods of local communities. He urged business families to reexamine their traditional notions of giving and to look at investments into worthy projects which can have a clear impact. While many wealthy families and companies want to support good causes, Nair noted that they do not often conduct the proper due diligence or monitoring necessary to ensure that their money is being used as intended. Therefore, projects which use a business model for development with a focus on tangible results can be a positive alternative to traditional charity stated Nair. “By investing now into high-impact projects which deliver sustainable results to communities, families have a real opportunity to create the business of the future and to leave a lasting legacy.”

The Asian Family Office Forum was held in Singapore on 25 March 2009 which brought together an exclusive group of over 35 business families and family office leaders to share their perspective and strategies in today’s challenging environment. Other speakers present included: Stephen Riady, President, The Lippo Group of Companies; Mohan Murjani, Chairman, The Murjani Group; Alexander Scott, Executive Chairman, Sand Aire Ltd; and Bonny Landers, CEO, Sterling Private Management Ltd.