Home Is Where Singapore Investors Park Their Money

Friends Provident International (FPI) have released the findings of their sixth edition of the Investor Attitudes survey conducted in Singapore and Hong Kong (survey period between 24th June and 17th August 2015) which forms part of Aviva’s Consumer Attitudes Survey.

The latest edition of the Investor Attitudes survey drew responses from 1,000 global expatriates and local nationals across Singapore and Hong Kong, unearthing interesting statistics from financial confidence and attitudes, investment outlook to spending and saving behaviour in these markets.

The results showed that despite economic optimism remaining low with 31% believing it will worsen in the next 12 months, Singapore remains the first choice of destination that respondents would like to park and invest their money.

Whether someone has worked overseas or not influences their preferences in relation to investing. Globally mobile investors are more willing to take financial risks and are more positive about their investment options compared to those who have only worked locally.

Mr Chris Gill, General Manager, Southeast Asia at FPI said, “Among all financial products, affluent respondents prefer investing in equities/share and residential property. Despite the recent stock market volatility at the time of the survey, almost half of affluent respondents (48%) believe investing in equities offers the potential for growth when compared to the general consumer (35%).

Investing in properties is always is generally perceived as a good long-term investment, a view endorsed by the survey results which shows more than half (53%) of affluent respondents feel that residential property is a good long-term investment, they also believe residential property prices will continue to go up. However, it is also important to consider a diverse portfolio to ensure risk is mitigated and long term goals can be achieved without placing too much reliance on one asset class.”

The findings also revealed the top two greatest personal concerns from the respondents are funding for retirement (66%) and serious illness (52%) including family and loved ones. Hence their saving and investment goals are mainly focused on addressing these concerns.

Singapore investors rely heavily on independent financial advisors (IFAs), citing IFAs as the most trustworthy source for advice on financial services. This is even more evident in the globally mobile space (30%) compared to those who have only worked locally (22%).

Mr Gill adds, “With longer life expectancy and an aging population, this posts tremendous challenges across the globe in relation to planning for our long term future. It is encouraging to note affluent investors are aware of the need to put aside part of their savings in a bid to provide them with a piece of mind that their retirement and future medical bills will be taken care of. It is also really pleasing to see that respondents place a high degree of trust in their professional advisers when seeking expert advice on insurance or wealth planning solutions. This is a timely reminder to the financial services industry to consider not only their products proposition but their customer engagement strategy.”

Other key findings from the survey:

  • Singapore is the first choice of destination for Singapore respondents to park their savings and investments
  • On average, globally mobile investors direct almost half of their take home pay (49%) towards savings and investment compared to the general consumer (35%)
  • Two-thirds (66%) of affluent investors expressed that retirement remains their key saving/investment goal
  • Independent Financial Advisers (IFAs) are the most relied upon source of financial information or advice for Singaporean investors.
  • Sentiments across all investment categories became worse compared to a similar time period last year with gold being the hardest hit reflecting the recent market turmoil. 40% of Singapore investors had considered increasing their long term exposure to gold over the course of 6 months in 2014, as compared to only 26% in 2015.
  • Greater improvement is expected within emerging markets. 34% of respondents expect the emerging markets to perform better, as compared to 28% who expect the developed markets to perform better in the next six months.

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