One in five Hong Kong investors have seen their net worth decline over the past six months, a survey conducted by HSBC has found.
The survey found 19% of “Hong Kongers” reported their net worth decreased in 2012, compared to 11% during the same period in 2011, according to the HSBC Hong Kon Wealth Tracker survey, which was based on interviews of some 1,600 individuals aged between 18 and 65.
The results of this survey, which focussed on attitudes among regular Hong Kong residents, contrasts with those of another just-released HSBC survey, that of the bank’s Expat operation, which – as reported today – found that 79% of expats surveyed who currently live in Hong Kong said they had seen “an increase in disposable income since moving to the country”.
Perhaps not surprisingly in an environment in which many are seeing their net worth declining, the HSBC survey residents also revealed that many ordinary Hong Kong investors have become more cautious in their investments.
On average, these investors are keeping 60% of their liquid assets in cash, the survey found, with a majority of respondents (77%) saying that they intend to accumulate more cash, compared to only 61% who expressed the same intention last year.
Meanwhile, although these investors say they are “keen” to prepare for retirement and fight inflation – the top financial goals cited by 43% and 41% of all the investors surveyed, respectively – they are taking a “wait-and-see attitude” when it comes to wealth management, the HSBC researchers found.
Eric Fu, HSBC’s head of wealth development for Hong Kong, retail banking and wealth management, said the results revealed that people “in general are lacking confidence to invest in the market”, in response to the “continued economic uncertainty arising from various global events, such as the Euro crisis, dampened US growth and shrinking GDP in Hong Kong”.
Older investors worried about retirement
Those Hong Kong residents over 50 years of age revealed a greater concern about retirement than their younger counterparts, with more than half of respondents that age and over citing “saving for retirement” as their top financial goal.
“Only 12% of investors consider early retirement as one of their top three financial goals”, HSBC said, in a summary of the survey’s findings, “while nearly seven in ten (68%) respondents worry that they do not have sufficient time to prepare financially for retirement.”