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We support family business with education, networking opportunities and help with family business succession and family business dynamics.

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FBA History

Multi-generation family businesses have existed, globally, for centuries – but research and other forms of support designed to meet their specific needs and enhance their prospects for survival, growth and continuity only began late in the 20th century. 
Drawing on an emerging overseas knowledge base, in the early ‘90s several independent Australian groups began to apply that knowledge and experience locally.

It ignited the “family business movement” across the country, shaped the landscape and enhanced the growth of many Australian family businesses.


In 1991, prominent South Australian family businessman, Raymond Michell from the GH Michell Group, attended a seminar in the US offered by, arguably, the pioneer in the field of Family Business research and support, Dr Leon Danco.

This was life changing and inspired Ray to assemble a group of like-minded people in Adelaide to create the ‘not for profit’ organisation, Family Business Services SA Inc (‘FBSSA’) in 1992, which sought to enhance the prospects of South Australian – and ultimately, Australian – family businesses by educating them about family business matters.


In 1992, Bond University researchers, Professor Ken Moores AM and Dr. Joseph Mula received a research grant to undertake the first major study into Family-Owned Business in Australia. Papers based on the research were presented at international conferences including the 6th Family Business Network (‘FBN’) Conference held in Spain, where it was awarded ‘best research paper’.


Inspired by Moores’ and Mula’s findings, the Australian Centre for Family Business (‘ACFB’) was created within Bond University and launched in 1994 to meet the nation’s family business research and educational needs. 

1995 - 1996

A little over a year after ACFB was created, a networking division – called the Australian Family Business Network (‘AFBN’) – was formed to meet the direct needs of the family business community. By December 1996 AFBN chapters were established in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sydney, and Hobart – and an alliance was formed with FBSSA. 

The mantra of AFBN was to think nationally and act locally. A National Family Business Forum was held in Sydney in June 1995 and the first National Family Business Conference was held at Bond University in September 1996.

Late in 1996, the Melbourne-based Family Business Council (‘FBC’) was launched.  Unlike many other family business organisations, it was run by family businesspeople rather than academics or professional advisors.


In July 1997, National Mutual Financial Services and Monash University launched The Foundation for Private & Family Business (‘FFPB’) as a membership organisation primarily to provide education and information services for family and private businesses and their advisors.

Late in 1997, a number of meetings took place between the FBC and AFBN to discuss how they might collectively form a more effective national organisation.


In 1998, the Victorian organisations, FBC and the FFPB, merged to form Family Business Australia (‘FBA’), followed by mergers with most chapters of the AFBN and the creation of an FBA chapter in Western Australia.  In 2000 a merger with the South Australian body took place.


Family business-specific advocacy has always been a key objective of FBA, primarily to the Federal Government.  David Smorgon was FBA’s first Chairman, and his high profile and personal networks enhanced the prospect of effective advocacy.


FBA maintained – and gradually enhanced – the educational activities of its state-based predecessors by offering information sessions, seminars and conferences.  Separate events and education programs were held for Advisor members and education courses were specifically developed for both family businesspeople and advisors, providing opportunities for both formal and peer learning as well as social interaction.

Forum Groups

One of FBA’s most highly valued education initiatives is its Forum Group program. These groups are committed to confidentiality and embrace the important principle of the Chatham House Rule (effectively, “what’s said in the room stays in the room”), which is adopted by FBA more broadly.

FBA Forum Groups are the only professionally facilitated, executive discussion group for family business leaders, executives and CEOs in Australia and New Zealand. Members of the first Forum Group – formed in 1998 – are still actively involved in that group today.


National Conference

Since the first National Conference in Coolum, Queensland in 1999, the annual National Conference quickly gained a reputation for having a truly national flavour – always attracting a fantastic crowd of Members from a broad range of industries and geographical regions. The quality of speakers, variety of sessions and networking opportunities with other like-minded people – especially during the ever-popular Longest Lunch – always sees Members return home inspired and energised.    

Awards Program

Since 1999, FBA’s Family Business Awards have showcased excellence in family business, both in a business sense and through the contribution of family ownership and involvement to the business’s competitive advantage.


Hall of Fame

FBA has celebrated and recognised the achievements of family-owned Australian businesses and the special achievers who contribute positively to our community, economy and culture through the Hall of Fame. Inaugurated in South Australia in 2002, this prestigious award later extended to other states and ran until 2021.


Philippa Taylor is FBA’s longest serving CEO: from 2005 to 2014. Amongst her many achievements Philippa oversaw a major review of FBA’s constitution in 2005 and, later, the development of its suite of highly regarded educational courses in collaboration with Bond University’s ACFB. 

NxG/Emerging Generation

In 2005, the first Next Generation committee was formed in Victoria – and subsequently extended to other states across Australia – so that next-gen members could meet regularly to raise and address issues that directly impact the generation potentially set to succeed into leadership and ownership of their family business.


The inaugural Family Business Awareness Course was presented at National Conference.

Created to give its target audience a concise insight into various aspects of family business, Professor Ken Moores presented an interactive session on the first day of the 2007 Conference called Induction session for new members and first-time attendees. Now called Family Business Essentials, it continues to give audiences an excellent first taste of ‘what family business is all about’.


FBA, in collaboration with professional educators, devised a specialised training program to enhance the capability of advisors from various professional disciplines to provide tailored advice to their family business clients. Its Advisor Accreditation Program – and continuing advisor education – is dedicated to supporting family business advisors committed to creating a community of dynamic and sustainable family businesses.


In support of its advocacy initiative, by 2009, FBA had engaged with Senator Sue Boyce (Queensland), who had a family business background and understood many issues unique to family businesses. She addressed the Senate on family business, emphasising the sector’s importance to the Australian economy and highlighting the lack of federal government attention to matters specifically relevant to its success. 


FBA launched an extensive range of unique courses tailored for families in business. FBA provides the only courses in Australia and New Zealand that specifically address the challenges faced by family businesspeople.


National Family Business Day launched with an Australia-wide celebration in 2012 to recognise the enormous contribution family businesses make to the Australian economy, community and culture.

The “A family-owned business” emblem was launched for Members’ use in Australia in 2012 – and in New Zealand in 2019 – to raise awareness of the sector within the wider community and to encourage trade with family businesses as preferred suppliers of goods and services.


FBA and associated stakeholders played a significant part in the Parliamentary Joint Committee Enquiry on Corporations and Financial Services: Family business in Australia. The Committee’s report made 21 recommendations on a wide variety of matters relating to Australia’s family businesses and has made an important contribution to building a greater understanding of the value of family businesses and the challenges they face, many of which are influenced by federal government policies.


In 2017, FBA appointed the Family Business Education and Research Group at the University of Adelaide to run the Advisor Accreditation Program.


The FBA Counsel of Wisdom was formed in 2018. Comprising former longstanding senior FBA leaders, it acts as a source of organisational knowledge and experience and a sounding board for the Board and Management. It also performs other roles, such as advocacy, from time to time, as directed by the Board. 


In 2019, FBA established Family Business New Zealand to support the family business sector there.

The Family Business Conference – Asia-Pacific region was launched and delegates from New Zealand and Singapore attended the event in Melbourne.


FBA’s Constitution was substantially amended in July 2020. In place of the chapter structure, FBA was divided into 6 Regions: QLD; NSW/ACT; VIC/TAS; SA/NT; WA and NZ. Representatives were appointed to each Region and operations were centralised in head office with the objective of ensuring that similar offerings were provided to all Members, irrespective of their geographic location. 


In 2023, the name Family Business Association was adopted to reflect the collaboration of the Australian and New Zealand organisations and their common purpose.

Key People

Since its foundation, FBA’s development has been influenced by various CEOs, Board Chairs and others, each of whom has played a pivotal role in shaping and guiding the organisation.


FBA now has over 2000 members, including family businesspeople, advisors, academics and scholars. Family Business Australia and Family Business New Zealand was rebranded as the Family Business Association in recognition of the role it has taken in the development of a significant family business organisation in both countries.

FBA also maintains strong links with various organisations within Australasia and has international links with the European-based FBN and the US-based FFI.

In a relatively short period of time, family business in Australia and New Zealand has not only become recognised as a unique sector, but now proudly boasts a vibrant national peak body organisation. Amongst a range of factors, FBA has achieved this status by developing strong affiliations with the academic community to drive its education and awareness agendas, which support its strategies to serve and represent family businesses.

The future

The future is in YOUR hands.

By continuing your active involvement with FBA, acting upon what you learn, contributing ideas, encouraging others to become involved and generally spreading the word, YOU are the future of FBA and Australasia’s family business sector.

Watch the From little things big things grow… the history of Family Business Association video.