Philanthropic Family Tops Rich List
8 October 2015 at 10:15 am
One of Australia’s greatest philanthropic families, the Smorgon’s, remains the richest family in the country with wealth estimated at $2.7 billion.
The Smorgon family, based in Melbourne, has topped the BRW’s Rich Families list for the past seven years with diverse investments in property, agriculture, technology and retail, across seven “wings” of the family.
Equally diverse are the Smorgon’s philanthropic activities. Patrons of the arts, they are benefactors of the Victorian Arts Centre and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, and the National Gallery of Australia established the Loti and Victor Smorgon Gallery in recognition of their support.
The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre named a wing after the Smorgons, they are life trustees at the Mount Scopus Memorial College, and the Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation donate $30,000 annually to a Victorian research institute nominated by the Premier’s Award for Health and Medical Research.
The Jack & Robert Smorgon Families Foundation was also one of the charities that established the Australian Council for Children and Youth Organisations, to safeguard children from child abuse.
David Smorgon, Executive Chairman of PwC’s Family, Business and Wealth team, told BRW that there was more to family wealth than money.
“There is too much emphasis on business matters at the expense of family issues. 99 per cent of most families’ time is spent on the business, this inevitably results in a lack of effective and regular communication between family members. A successful family business requires hard work, commitment, collaboration and understanding,” Smorgon said.
“It requires creating a process and infrastructure of open communication, governance and a family plan to provide the framework for family success. It requires understanding that there are options, there are systems and processes that can assist.
“So is it time for Australian family business owners to re-evaluate what rich is, to rebalance their priorities and spend more time with their family, and give their children something that money can’t buy – direction, guidance, support and love? A different kind of rich – a richer life.”
Second and third on the list are the Wilson and Liberman families, worth $2.6 billion and $2.5 billion respectively.
The combined wealth of the 50 BRW Rich Families list was $41.18 billion in 2015, up from $40.1 billion in 2015. The average wealth on the list is $824 million per family, the highest ever result.