Certificate in Advising Small and Family Businesses (Cert. ASFB)
Small and family-owned businesses in Singapore represent one of the less-explored, high-potential segments for financial planners. The business and family dynamics of these segments are unique, requiring targeted, specialized solutions, which a financial adviser with a Certificate in Advising Small and Family Businesses (Cert. ASFB) can more deliver more competently. The course has a structured framework offering insights into the challenges faced by small business and family-owned business owners, and prepares participants to provide expert guidance and actionable advice.
Snapshot of the small business challenges in Singapore
According to Statistics Singapore, there are 190,100 enterprises in Singapore (including companies, businesses, non-profit organizations, ministries and statutory boards) of which 99% are small and medium enterprises, while 82% comprise mostly of major locally-owned enterprises. SMEs contribute almost half of the country's gross domestic product.
Nine out of 10 SMEs are tackling the problem of unplanned growth. A 2016 research report by Morar Consulting and Epicor Software Corporation has found that about 65% of the country's business leaders are worried that business growth can put excessive pressure on business operations, and adversely affect quality and customer satisfaction. Half of the business leaders are concerned about their ill-preparedness in managing a larger, growing and diverse business.
One of the most pressing and complex challenges faced by this segment is effectively managing growth expectations. Financial advisers attuned to the needs and issues faced by small business owners are in a better position to provide essential tools and insights necessary to informed decision-making through the growth stages.
Succession planning is another challenge. Succession plans can be designed to ensure that the business survives and prospers when leaders are no longer in the picture, owing to their untimely death, incapacitation or retirement. A succession plan can also be an exit strategy that ensures the the owner or his/her heirs can cash out at a good value under the prevalent circumstances. Here too, financial advisers can assist business clients with goal-setting and provisions.
Snapshot of family-owned businesses in Singapore
In their survey of family businesses, PricewaterhouseCoopers found succession planning to be a key internal issue, and ensuring that business stays in the family to be a chief priority. Conflict between family members was identified as an important challenge. The survey revealed that just 11% of family businesses in Singapore had a robust and documented succession plan.
The future is quite uncertain for owners of privately-owned businesses. There are no means of predicting when untimely decisions may be necessitated in the event of ill-health or offers of acquisition by a global competitor. One of the best ways to be prepared for such uncertainties – whether positive or negative – is to be aware of the value of the business. Businesses can leverage a number of strategies to maximize the value of their firm for an attractive valuation. Unless they start preparing at the earliest, they will struggle to sell at any time or at the most opportune times.
Internal conflicts are more commonly associated with family-owned businesses, but it is a lesser known fact that their ownership structure gives them the advantage of long-term competitiveness over publicly-held companies. As mentioned above, future plans emphasize passing on ownership and/or management to the next generation more than selling/floating the business. Effective conflict management and succession planning are essential to realize such 'family involvement' goals and take a longer-term approach to decision-making.
Financial advisers with a Certificate in Advising Small and Family Businesses (Cert. ASFB) have extensive knowledge of the complexities inherent in a family enterprise. The certification can help you advance your career or pursue a niche interest in a meaningful and rewarding way.
About the Certificate in Advising Small & Family Businesses (Cert. ASFB)
The Certificate in Advising Small & Family Businesses (Cert. ASFB) is a certificate course approved by the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF) under the FTS-scheme to equip financial services practitioners with the necessary to engage the business owners market. Due to the broad scope of business ownership planning, this course is designed to focus on addressing the challenges faced by small and family-owned businesses.
At the end of this course, financial planners will be equipped with:
- An appreciation of the framework used to understand the business environment and business strategy to understand the client’s challenges and communicate more effectively with the client
- An appreciation of the process to conducting an analysis of the client’s business and the development of a business narrative
- A risk management process to identify and manage business and personal risk exposures and generate potential upsell and cross-sell opportunities to manage client’s risks exposure
- An understanding of the various business structures and its implications for businesses
- Knowledge to conduct financial analysis on a company to uncover risks and opportunities
- An understanding of various business valuation approaches in negotiating buy-sell agreements
- An understanding of the various types of buy-sell agreement structures
- An understanding of the importance of succession planning and a framework to get started
- An understanding of strategies to protecting a business against the loss of a key employee
- An understanding of various talent retention strategies
- Knowledge of structuring life insurance policies to meet various business planning objectives
- The framework to develop a narrative for family governance within a family-owned business
- An understanding of family dynamics and the balance of power and control between various stakeholder groups in a family-owned business
- An understanding of the potential business opportunities advising family-owned businesses
- Knowledge of sales concepts and presentation models to engage business owners as well as engagement tips, business-owner’s planning tools and worksheets
- A quarterly graduates meeting for practice updates, case discussions and networking
This 6-module workshop covers both Knowledge and Skills and will comprise of 21 contact hours:
MODULE 1: Introduction to Advising Business Owners and Risk Management
The first module provides an overview of the potential opportunities that can be generated when advising business owners. This module will also bridge the relationship between the risk exposures facing the client as an individual and a business-owner, and the various strategies that can be used to manage such risk exposure and generate business opportunities.
MODULE 2: The Business Environment and Business Structure
This module provides a framework for understanding the business environment and business structures, as well as the unique issues and challenges in each structure. In this module, learners will have a deeper understanding of where to start, what to look for and how to engage their prospective clients in a client-planner relationship.
MODULE 3: Conducting Company Financial Analysis
This module equips learners with the knowledge and competence to understand and conduct a financial analysis of the business in order to identify potential financial pitfalls within the business, such as credit, cashflow or guarantor risks, and be equipped to address them.
MODULE 4: The Buy-Sell Agreement and Establishing Business Valuation
This module looks into the buy-sell agreement as well as an appreciation of the various valuation models and guidelines, as well as an introduction to valuers such as the International Valuation Standards Council (IVSC) and the role of the Institute of Valuers and Appraisers of Singapore (IVAS).
MODULE 5: Exit Planning and Key Employee Strategies
This module addresses the exit planning and succession issues of the business owner, and how to implement appropriate strategies to ensure a smooth exit or funding for a buyout. Learners will also gain an appreciation of strategies that can be used to retain key employees for the long-term benefit of the business.
MODULE 6: Advising Family-Owned Business
This final module addresses the challenges and concerns of family-owned business (e.g. equity among siblings) and the strategies that can be used to mitigate such challenges.
The knowledge and skills will be delivered through:
- Structured lecture
- Case studies and discussions
- Assignment and further readings
- Written assignment (short essay)
- MCQ assessment (30 questions)
The Certificate in Advising Small & Family Businesses (ASFB) will be awarded upon successful completion of the written assignment and assessment.
Course Facilitator: Mr. Ronald Wong
- To ensure maximum appreciation of the content, learners should preferably have at least one year of experience in financial planning to develop an appreciation of the content
- AFP certification or its equivalent will be useful
Duration of Course:
6-sessions conducted over a 6-week period (21 non-core CPD hours)
Attendee will receive the Certificate (Cert. ASFB) upon meeting the attendance requirement and passing the online assessment
1) IBF-FTS funding (must pass assessment for claim) - up to 90%*
OR 2) Skills Future Credit – up to S$500 credits*
* 90% funding is applicable for Singaporean aged 40 and above. 50% funding is available to all other qualifying applicants. Term and conditions apply. Please refer to the official website for full details.
This programme is recognised under the Financial Training Scheme (FTS) and is eligible for FTS claims subject to all eligibility criteria being met.
Please note that in no way does this represent an endorsement of the quality of the training provider and programme. Participants are advised to assess the suitability of the programme and its relevance to participants’ business activities or job roles.
The FTS is available to eligible entities based on the prevalent funding eligibility, quantum and caps. FTS claims may only be made for recognised programmes with specified validity period. Please refer to www.ibf.org.sg for more information.