About the Survey

The Asian Business Family Survey addresses the need to gain a better understanding of Asian Business Families as leadership is being passed from the founding generation to the second generation. Given Asia’s unique historical and social dynamics, next generation business leaders are now becoming increasingly interested in better understanding family and business continuity issues and the implications that these may have on their own lives as well as those who will succeed them.  Media attention paid to feuding business families, such as the Ambanis of India, and more recently Sun Hung Kai’s Kwok family have contributed to this interest. Many next generation leaders, often having had the benefit of an overseas education, are demonstrating increasing openness towards new ideas and approaches and are therefore actively seeking solutions to various family and business continuity related issues.

The Asian Business Family Survey is the first of its kind in Southeast Asia. The survey gathers first hand data from multiple family members from 25 leading business families across the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia. These 5 countries, together with Hong Kong, are the economic success story of this region. Business, psychological and sociological perspectives are merged into the data analysis process, focusing on family and business history; family dynamics, values, priorities and concerns; underlying motivations and guiding principles for business, leadership and succession planning; and wealth and philanthropy.

Profile of the Families Interviewed

The majority of the participating families are in their first or second generation with the third generation still of schooling age. Most control approximately 20 operating entities diversified across 3 to 9 industries, of which at least one is publicly listed, holding assets of USD 2.15 billion on average.


In terms of business complexity today, most families have fewer than three holding companies (that we could find) controlling approximately twenty operating entities diversified across three to nine industries.

Survey Methodology

Participation in the survey is purely voluntary. Invitations to participate in the survey are extended to leading business families in each of the target countries.


Open-ended face-to-face interviews lasting approximately an hour are conducted with one or several family members. Questions focusing on family & business history, family, business, financial wealth and community provide a basic framework to the interview, though the order of the questions varies depending on the flow of the interview.

Survey Topics

The survey covered 5 categories – family and business history, family, business, financial wealth and community.



The Survey’s focus is on tracing the roots of the family and the family business and how this has evolved since. The ABFS identifies an approximate family and business structure, special family moments that have pulled the family closer together, key family members and values that have been passed from one generation to the next.


The Survey also looks at family vision, goals, governance, leadership, decision-making process, conflict-resolution methods and communication structure. The Survey tries to form a better understanding of the family’s succession plans such as how the next generation is being prepared and what expectations the incumbent generation has on the next.


The Survey explores the purpose of the business to the family, its strengths and weaknesses, management and governance structures and, most importantly, how family members are involved in the business. The Survey seeks to understand business succession plans and the family’s major business succession concerns.


The Survey covers families’ purpose of wealth, wealth management strategies and the use of professional wealth managers. The Survey also looks at wealth succession plans such as the setting up of trusts.


The Survey discusses the family’s contributions to its community starting with its relationship with the community, philanthropic contributions and how it views philanthropy in relation to family legacy.

Discretion and Anonymity

To respect the privacy and protect the identities of survey participants, participation in the survey is kept strictly confidential.


To respect the privacy and protect the identities of survey participants, participation in the survey is kept strictly confidential.

In any publication, findings will be reported in the aggregate by using statistical data (e.g. 23% of interviewed families have 30 or more family members) so no specific families can be directly identified. References to individuals or a single family will use pseudonyms in place of persons’ names and companies and care will be taken to ensure that the family cannot be identified directly or indirectly.

For more information, please refer to our Confidentiality Agreement.