UOB launches initiative to ease generational transfer of wealth

Initiative aims to build a community of inter-generational leaders and enable them to share their experiences and knowledge

Singapore’s third-largest lender United Overseas Bank (UOB) has launched an initiative to support the next generation of leaders of Asia’s family-led firms as they prepare to run their businesses.

Known as The Business Circle, the enterprise will be open to the bank’s clients, including young first-generation entrepreneurs who have built successful companies. 

The Singaporean bank intends to build a community of inter-generational leaders and create a platform for them to share their experiences. The platform’s aim will be to lock in valuable business experience and knowledge that can be easily accessed and passed from one generation of business owners to the next.

In the coming years, Asia will see a massive wave of inter-generational wealth succession, with almost one-third of the region’s wealth predicted to change hands. The majority of creators of the businesses that produced the wealth are now in the twilight of their lives with most being octogenarians or older.

The scale of business and wealth transfer in Asia is immense. A recent report from Bloomberg highlighted that eight Asian billionaires who control US$125 billion are now over 90.

The beneficiaries think very differently compared to their patriarchs about creating and managing business and wealth than their predecessors, with many bringing new ideas while pursuing innovative growth strategies.

With this in mind, the UOB initiative aims to create a community of next-generation family business owners who by learning from successful entrepreneurs are better able to fast-track their own company’s growth. UOB’s scheme will also facilitate cross-industry and cross-border connections and collaborations for its members across the region.

It is hoped they will also learn how to sustain growth by tapping the deep industry insights, business acumen and innovative thinking of already proven business leaders. 

According to UOB, family firms are a significant contributor to Asia’s continued economic growth, accounting for 34 percent of the region’s gross domestic product.

There are also plans for masterclasses and workshops presented by UOB and its ecosystem of partners on topics such as business diversification, digitalization and cross-border expansion.

As part of this commitment, the bank has organized its first business mission for the Business Circle members to Chengdu and Chongqing, China in November 2019.

Fifty next-generation business leaders will visit the Liangjiang New Area’s Digital Economy Industrial Park to see how companies use technology to design solutions to widen their market reach or improve customer experience. To understand how technology is redesigning the retail experience, they will also visit Hema, Alibaba's technology-driven supermarket.

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