Despite the enduring repercussions of the global financial crisis, regional and political challenges, as well as the rapid rise of technology, Hong Kong investors continue to seek financial advice from trusted sources.
However, volatile international and local markets, as well as historic changes in China, remain core factors affecting risk appetite.
These were the findings of AXA Investment Managers’ “Consumer Research Report” Hong Kong Edition, which conducted interviews with more than 1,000 people, representing the top 80% of income earners, the group which has a higher propensity to save and invest.
The survey sample comprised 49% males and 51% females. It also included 120 children between the ages of eight and 15 years old.
“While technology is likely to remain a major driver of how people in Hong Kong interact with their finances, there remains a clear desire for advice from trusted sources,” Terence Lam, managing director, head of sales and marketing, Asia, at AXA IM.
According to the study, it has only been 10 years since the global financial crisis and many Hong Kong investors are still more careful about wading back into the market. As a result, gaining the trust of their clients is the key to how financial advisers can develop their adviser-client relationships in the future.
Many Hong Kong investors are self-directed although they also seek professional help.
About 57% of respondents are either very confident or more confident about their financial situation and 59% are confident about the state of their financial situation three years from now.
“Encouragingly, however, 58% of respondents said they currently hold investments. Interestingly, this is the same percentage as those who said they were willing to take some amount of risk to get greater returns,” Lam says.
On average, people in Hong Kong consult three sources when looking for financial advice. The internet tops the list as the choice of 42% of respondents, followed by information from banks and savings and investment providers at 41%, and financial advisers at 37%.
This is reflected in the fact that 47% of respondents said they do all their research and make decisions without advice, while 42% said they do their research but also get advice from a professional adviser.
However, when it comes to getting advice on the best savings rates, investment tips, saving for retirement, starting a business, and buying a house, people generally want to speak to a professional.
The sheer size of China’s economic expansion has resulted in sharp increases in asset prices across the region. In Hong Kong, the impact this growth continues to generate in local property and investment markets remains a source of concern as it has stoked worries about bubbles.
But, despite this political and economic uncertainty, people remain positive about their financial future, according to the study.