PricewaterHouseCoopers (PwC) has set up an Asia-Pacific family business hub in Singapore, the island city-state where 89% of family businesses do not have a succession plan.
Sian Steele, PwC UK family business leader who helped established the centre, said issues facing family businesses are universal.
However, Asia Pacific family business owners do not have the networking, communication, and support as developed in mature markets when they confront transition issues from first to second and second to third ownerships, Steele said.
“This concept of longevity stewardship, that we feel comfortable with in Europe and the Americas, is quite new to them and our centre is in response to an increase in demand from clients for those kinds of inputs from the West,” Steele added.
This is backed up by research from Singapore Management University and Deloitte, published last year. Asian Business Families Governance: Cross the Chasm for Inter-Generational Change found 83% of Asian families do not have concrete succession plans even though 85% expect to pass on their businesses in five years or less.
Separate research by PwC suggests only 15% of family businesses in Singapore have conflict resolution mechanisms in place – compared to 27% globally.
Ng Siew Quan, PwC’s Asia Pacific entrepreneurial and private clients leader, will lead the centre.
An 11-strong international advisory council with a broad mix of experience including business selling, conflict, and mediation will support Quan.
“The problems that people face [in Asia Pacific] are: how do we communicate effectively as a family? How do we professionalise the way that we behave as shareholders? How do we make sure our business interactions are done in a co-ordinated and strategic way? How do we deal with employing members of the family? And how do we deal with skills gaps?,” Steele concluded.