SINGAPORE (Nov 14): While family businesses in Singapore are optimistic about growth and have a strong desire to keep their businesses in the family, few have ensured that plans are in place to achieve these objectives.

This is according to the Global Family Business Survey 2018 released by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), which found that the family businesses surveyed in Singapore to grow in the next two years.

More than half of Singapore respondents also said they were involving next-gens in their leadership team (63%) and senior executive roles (53%). This comes in significantly higher than the regional and global responses which stand at 48% in Asia Pacific and 43% globally in leadership, and 38% in Asia Pacific and 36% globally in senior executive roles.

Despite this, the survey also finds that a mere 8% of Singapore family businesses deemed themselves to have a robust, formalised and communicated succession plan in place, which lower than Asia Pacific and global responses at 12% and 15%, respectively.

Only 34% in Singapore (versus 43% in Asia Pacific and 49% globally) have a costed, formalised and documented mid-term plan.

In a press release on Wednesday, PwC says the mismatch in these two areas – that is, succession and mid- and long- term planning  – could prove to be “major stumbling blocks to success” for local family businesses.  

While Ng Siew Quan, Asia Pacific and Singapore Entrepreneurial and Private Business Leader, PwC, says she finds this disconnect concerning, she believes it “sends a clear signal to family businesses in Singapore on what can be concretely done to mitigate these risks”.

Another main concern identified by Singapore’s family businesses is the need to constantly innovate.

This is cited as the top challenge to growth (79% in Singapore, versus 65% in Asia Pacific and 66% globally) by the city state’s respondents – followed by the economic environment and international competition.

“In the digital age where ‘innovation’ is the name of the game, and the ability to constantly reinvent the business is integral to securing long-term success and legacy, there’s never been a more pressing time for family businesses to get their fundamentals – underlined by their family business values – right,” says Ng.