Hong Kong expats desert financial advisors for internet advice

Published:  22 Nov at 6 PM
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Wealthy residents as well as expats working in Hong Kong are backing off from banks and financial advisors in favour of internet sites dealing with investment and finance.

The city’s investment market recently suffered a severe blow due to new, stricter rules applying to FAs and banks, with regulators putting the brakes on high-risk investments such as insurance-wrapped funds. A survey by Friends Provident, an Isle of Man insurance company whose Hong Kong office actually facilitates this type of fund, revealed that only 26 per cent of respondents would use an FA or bank for investment purposes.

As much as 45 per cent of those surveyed said they would look for advice online, although older investors were more likely to seek advice from a qualified and registered professional in the field. The cultural aspect contained in only using FAs to rubber-stamp investment decisions was evident in the Chinese community, as taking direct advice and acting on is seen as a female characteristic.

The survey also took in the UAE and Singapore, with only 30 per cent of respondents saying they would be happy to take advice from an FA. One in ten preferred making their own decisions, 14 per cent used a stockbroker and just 22 per cent said they would use a bank.

The wealthy in Hong Kong preferred stocks and shares whilst the UAE’s most popular investments are gold and property, and Hong Kong investors fight shy of brick and mortar investments. However, all three regions surveyed had one thing in common – saving for their children’s education.
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