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With all the reluctance of an ancient creaking door, the old secret banking vaults around the globe are slowly being prised open. One does not have to go too far back to remember the traditional attitude to banking privacy.

Many of us spend time bemoaning the sticky fingers of activist investors, with their meddling manipulation of family businesses. The intrusive nature of outside influences trying to affect change on age-old companies is a issue families.

Pity the poor family who comes up against a Russian oligarch when bidding for a luxury villa in the Med or a high-rise pad in the Gulf. These brash new energy egotists from the East won't think twice about paying over the odds.

In this time of economic turmoil, perhaps we should look toward the stabilising influence of family businesess for solutions. The Dierberg family put substantial assets into First Bank to protect the communities and families they serve

For many private investors it would seem that the idea of having money invested in the very top performing funds is what it is all about – continually looking for this year’s “star” manager, usually based on last year’s performance.

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