WEALTHY business owners are more concerned about expanding their companies than increasing their own personal wealth or undertaking succession planning, according to a new report.

It found that 79 per cent of respondents in the poll of high- net-worth business owners in Asia, Africa and the Middle East place mid-term business growth as their top priority.

By contrast, only 21 per cent are doing long-term planning for personal wealth preservation.

The report said: "Increasing personal wealth is viewed as a by-product of a successful business and not the main priority."

The survey noted that 82 per cent of respondents who are focusing on growing their businesses see increasing market share as the top growth strategy, while 65 per cent want to increase production capacity and 58 per cent are keen on expanding internationally.

But only 58 per cent of Asian businesses and 42 per cent of African ones have gone international, compared with 82 per cent of those in the Middle East, according to Standard Chartered Private Bank yesterday, which conducted the survey with Campden Wealth Research.

It surveyed stakeholders in family businesses with turnover and family net worth in excess of US$100 million (S$124.6 million) in 2012 and stakeholders in non-family businesses with a 2012 turnover and individual net- worth in excess of US$25 million.

About 85 per cent of the respondents were heavily involved in daily management and financial work.

While growing their businesses is a key concern, respondents spend less time devoted to personal wealth strategies, including planning for the eventual transfer of wealth, the survey found.

The report said: "An average of almost half the respondents lack formal plans to transfer their wealth to the next generation."

However, 67 per cent of respondents who are not part of the business' founding generation have a structure for wealth transfer in place.

The report noted that "personal wealth strategies and ambitions are relatively less aggressive (than those for growing a businesss), although the focus on wealth preservation continues to grow and offers an advisory opportunity for private banks".

But private banks are not the first choice for respondents planning for the next generation's wealth, with 85 per cent of respondents preferring to seek the advice of lawyers and accountants, and only 50 per cent consulted private banks.

The report said such gaps show "an opportunity for private banks to reconsider their existing 'next generation' initiatives and strategy, and the practical value they can bring to this segment's wealth planning needs".