Charles Schwab Hong Kong Survey uncovers the city’s rising affluent investors’ attitude and sentiment towards diversification, international investment, financial planning and wealth management
Charles Schwab, Hong Kong, Ltd. today announced the findings from its first Hong Kong Rising Affluent Survey. The survey revealed that the rising affluent in Hong Kong have a strong willingness to achieve their financial goals on diversification and international investment, as well as put great importance on acquiring trustworthy sources and financial advisors to achieve these financial goals.
Engaging 2,000 Hong Kong and U.S. rising affluent, the Hong Kong rising affluent earns an annual income between HK$600K to HK$1.2M and own personal liquid assets between HK$600K and HK$5M; while the US rising affluent annual income amounted to US$100K-US$225K with personal liquid assets between US$100K-US$1M. Key findings include:
Nearly 80% of Hong Kong respondents are willing to diversify portfolio with international investments, and there is a stronger desire among Hong Kong rising affluent to learn about diversification and global investing compared to the US. However, they are hesitant to take the first step to invest in the international market.
Hong Kong investors tend to set an aggressive investment target, even they described themselves as “steady” investors (45%). Compared with 32% of US respondents, 47% of Hong Kong rising affluent’s short term financial goals are focused on doubling investment yields. More Hong Kong rising affluent also look at investing more heavily both on and off shore.
Hong Kong rising affluent (58%) are facing more pressure on providing funds for elderly parents or family members than those in the US (25%).
The majority of Hong Kong respondents (78%) said that they feel more knowledgeable than a financial advisor. Among those that do not use a financial advisor, nearly 60% of them stated that they do not know where to find information or trustworthy financial advisors.
Michael Fong, Managing Director, Charles Schwab Hong Kong, said, “Unlike the rising affluent class in the United States, Hong Kong investors are more eager to invest internationally and diversify their portfolio. However, there is a gap in finding appropriate and reliable investment advice from financial experts. Their high expectation of return is also not aligned with their investment attitudes.”
Seeking to build broadly diversified portfolios lies at the heart of HK rising affluent’s goals
Considering the level of stability in international and domestic economies, Hong Kong’s rising affluent are two times more likely to prioritize international investing than the U.S. rising affluent in the next five years (32% vs. 16%) and identify real estate investments (43% vs. 27%) as their long-term investment goal.
The survey found that 76% of Hong Kong rising affluent are willing to diversify portfolio internationally, and only 60% (vs. 80% in the US) think their portfolio is adequately diversified. They also have a strong desire to learn about how to diversify investment portfolio (85%), and global market outlooks (81%). Even though there is a willingness to invest internationally and in a more diversified way, over 60% of Hong Kong respondents do not know how to begin and are nervous to take the first step. Among which, female investors especially see the importance of diversification and feel that they need more resources to diversify their portfolio than men.
Hong Kong rising affluent are more aggressive than they think they are
Regarding Hong Kong rising affluent’s investing personalities, the survey showed that 45% and 38% of Hong Kong respondents described themselves as “steady” and “progressive” investors, respectively. Nevertheless, they tend to have more aggressive financial goals, and aim at doubling investment yields (47%) in the short term and investing more heavily domestically (45%) and aboard (32%), provided that 67% of the rising affluent only hold domestic investments over international or a mix of both currently.
Compared with the China Emerging Affluent Index Study conducted by Charles Schwab early this year, Mainland Chinese emerging affluent are relatively risk-averse, setting their financial goals of achieving RMB$5-10 million through investment with a steady annual yield of 5-10%.
The Financial Needs of the Sandwich Generation
Additional findings of the survey indicated that rising affluent in Hong Kong tend to factor family into their financial and wealth management decisions. When asked about long term financial goals, more than half of respondents chose supporting or investing for their family members, which in detail includes setting aside funds for elderly parents (75%), investing in real estate for children (57%), and growing funds to pass onto their children (55%) in the next 10 years.
Interestingly, Hong Kong female rising affluent (63%) focus more on providing funds for taking care of elderly family members than men (54%).
According to the China Index Study, although family is a key driver for both Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong rising affluent, the former put a higher priority on their next generation by investing in children’s education funding (69%).
A lack of trust in financial advisors, yet lacking information to find trustworthy resources
The survey also found that Hong Kong rising affluent have a strong distrust of financial advisors compared to rising affluent in the U.S. (24% vs. 45%) when making investment decisions, while only 34% (vs. 60% in the U.S.) of Hong Kong respondents work with a financial advisor or mix of personal/advisor management when it comes to managing portfolios.
More importantly, 78% of Hong Kong rising affluent believe that they are more knowledgeable than a financial advisor, while 59% admitted that they do not know where to find information on trustworthy financial advisors.
Under such circumstances, the majority of Hong Kong rising affluent heavily rely on their family/friends (71%), as well as media/social media (70%) as sources for investment decisions.
Unlike Hong Kong rising affluent, 45% of Mainland Chinese rising affluent use financial advisor to access to financial information, and 38% consulted with financial advisors over the past 12 months. Half of Mainland Chinese rising affluent stated that consulting investment advisors can provide more professional investment recommendations to them, while 47% said it saves time and improves efficiency.
“We believe the distrust is a clarion call to Hong Kong’s financial advisors,” concluded Fong. “However, the strong appetite of rising affluent for obtaining trustworthy information when they make investment decisions reflects a growing opportunity for investment experts and financial advisors to close the gap and take concrete steps to provide reliable information and advice to this group of people. Therefore, financial advisors should put more efforts in investor education and focus on building trusted relationship with their clients. They should also help clients understand investing principles, financial planning, and market landscape, which would help them globally diversify their portfolios and achieve their financial goals.”
 Charles Schwab Hong Kong Rising Affluent Survey defines rising affluent as the top 25% of individuals (excluding the top 5%) aged 18 or above in terms of net worth (household income and liquid assets). They are currently holding a savings account, among other investment vehicles, primary or joint decision-maker on financial decisions in household, and employed full or part time.
 A steady investor is described as “I focus on asset security and expect stable returns within the risk control” in the questionnaire.
 A progressive investor is described as “I diversify investment products, to obtain greater returns, therefore am able to take greater risk when market fluctuates” in the questionnaire.
 An aggressive investor is described as “I am comfortable with investing money in products with greater risks/ volatility to achieve greater returns” in the questionnaire.
About Charles Schwab Hong Kong Rising Affluent Survey
Charles Schwab Hong Kong appointed an independent third-party research agency to conduct the Charles Schwab Hong Kong Rising Affluent Survey. The online survey took place in February 2018, among 2,000 people across Hong Kong and the United States. Survey participants are currently holding a savings account, among other investment vehicles, primary or joint decision-maker on financial decisions in HH, and employed full or part time, with an income between HK$ 600K-HK$1.2M (for Hong Kong respondents)/US$100K-US$225K (for U.S. respondents), and personal liquid assets between HK$600K-HK$5M (for Hong Kong respondents)/US$100K-US$1M (for U.S. respondents).
About Charles Schwab Hong Kong
Charles Schwab, Hong Kong, Ltd., is a subsidiary of Charles Schwab Corporation and is registered with the Securities & Futures Commission (“SFC”) to carry out the regulated activities in dealing in securities and advising on securities under CE number ADV256. The company currently provides services via its Hong Kong office, its telephone system (+852 2101-0511) and web site (www.schwab.com.hk).
About Charles Schwab Corporation
The Charles Schwab Corporation (NYSE: SCHW) is a leading provider of financial services, with more than 345 offices and 11.1 million active brokerage accounts, 1.6 million corporate retirement plan participants, 1.2 million banking accounts, and US$3.31 trillion in client assets as of February 28, 2018. Through its operating subsidiaries, the company provides a full range of wealth management, securities brokerage, banking, money management, custody, and financial advisory services to individual investors and independent investment advisors. More information is available at www.schwab.com and www.aboutschwab.com.
Investment involves risk. Past performance is no indication of future results, and values fluctuate. International investments are subject to additional risks such as currency fluctuations, political instability and the potential for illiquid markets. Investing in emerging markets can accentuate these risks.
The information provided here is for general informational purposes only and should not be considered an individualized recommendation or personalized investment advice. The investment strategies mentioned here may not be suitable for everyone. Each investor needs to review an investment strategy for his or her own particular situation before making any investment decision.
All expressions of opinion are subject to change without notice in reaction to shifting market, economic or political conditions. Data contained herein from third party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, its accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed.
Diversification and rebalancing a portfolio cannot assure a profit or protect against a loss in any given market environment. Rebalancing may cause investors to incur transaction costs and, when rebalancing a non-retirement account, taxable events may be created that may affect your tax liability.
Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Forecasts contained herein are for illustrative purposes only, may be based upon proprietary research and are developed through analysis of historical public data. (0518-8G00)
U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller
WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The president’s poet woke up a superstar on Thursday, after a powerful reading at the U.S. inauguration catapulted 22-year-old Amanda Gorman to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.
Hours after Gorman’s electric performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, her two books – neither out yet – topped Amazon.com’s sales list.
“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY!” Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, wrote on Twitter.
Gorman’s debut poetry collection ‘The Hill We Climb’ won top spot in the online retail giant’s sale charts, closely followed by her upcoming ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’.
While poetry’s popularity is on the up, it remains a niche market and the overnight adulation clearly caught Gorman short.
“Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: ‘For words alone are certain good: Sing, then’.”
Gorman, the youngest poet in U.S. history to mark the transition of presidential power, offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country in Wednesday’s rendition.
“Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it,” Gorman said on the steps of the U.S. Capitol two weeks after a mob laid siege and following a year of global protests for racial justice.
“We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”
The performance stirred instant acclaim, with praise from across the country and political spectrum, from the Republican-backing Lincoln Project to former President Barack Obama.
“Wasn’t @TheAmandaGorman’s poem just stunning? She’s promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can’t wait,” tweeted former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
A graduate of Harvard University, Gorman says she overcame a speech impediment in her youth and became the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.
She has now joined the ranks of august inaugural poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
Her social media reach boomed, with her tens of thousands of followers ballooning into a Twitter fan base of a million-plus.
“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted TV host Oprah Winfrey.
Gorman’s books are both due out in September.
Third on Amazon’s best selling list was another picture book linked to politics and projecting hope: ‘Ambitious Girl’ by Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris.
(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape
By Justin Pike, Founder and Chairman, MYPINPAD
Delivery of intuitive, secure, personalised, and frictionless user experiences has long been table stakes in digital commerce, well before the era of COVID-19. As businesses harness the revolutionary power of digital technologies, they have pursued large-scale change to adapt to evolving consumer preferences (some more successfully than others, but that’s a blog for another day). Digital transformation is a term we hear repeatedly, and it looks different for each organisation, but essentially, it’s about utilising technology and data to digitise, automate, innovate and improve processes and the customer experience across the entire business.
As I said, this was already well underway but then came 2020 and no industry escaped the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak, which has had an indelible impact on businesses performance, operations, and revenue. Regardless of whether the impact of COVID has been very positive or very challenging, it has forced organisations globally to re-evaluate and re-orient strategies to adapt.
As lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions continue to change daily life, this raises the question of how we can balance a dramatic shift to digital and the benefits it brings, while ensuring business continuity and innovation both during and post-COVID, and protecting everyone against fraud?
Digital is an essential survival tool, and even more so in a COVID world
No one could have predicted the dramatic digital pivot that has taken place over this year. Indeed, within weeks of the COVID outbreak cash usage in the UK dropped by around 50%. Digital solutions including delivery applications, contactless payments, mobile commerce, online and mobile banking have become essential components of a touchless customer experience in the era of social distancing. It’s no longer just about an enhanced and superior customer experience, it’s also about health, safety and survival.
In store, businesses have benefited from contactless payments enabling faster throughput and reduced need for consumers to touch payment terminals (therefore requiring greater cleaning, which degrades the hardware much faster). Mastercard reported a 40% increase in contactless payments – including tap-to-pay and mobile pay – during the first quarter of the year as the global pandemic worsened. Digital has also become an essential sales channel for many B2C brands. Where brick and mortar stores have been required to close, digital commerce enables continuity of customer relationships and revenue. This channel also provides brands with rich customer data, which can be used to enhance and personalise the customer experience and typically results in greater levels of engagement and uplifts in revenue.
Industry forecasts estimate that worldwide spending on the technologies and services enabling digital transformation will reach GBP 1.8 trillion in 2023 – a clear indication that the process represents a long-term investment and a global commitment to digital-first strategy. The key point here is that digital brings significant benefits, and regardless of COVID, is here to stay.
The challenges that rapid digital transformation brings to businesses
Regardless of whether businesses are operating in developed or less-developed economies, these times of crisis have levelled the playing field in the sense that all businesses are facing similar issues. Access to products and supplies, maintaining customer relationships, accelerating sales for some and declining sales for others, health and hygiene are just a few of the unique challenges brought about by COVID.
Many businesses in physical environments have had to swiftly implement changes to significantly reduce safety risks for staff and customers, such as contactless payments, mobile ordering and delivery options. But with these changes come a host of other benefits of digitisation, such as faster transactions, and reduced human error at the point-of-sale.
The reliance on technology, however, can also expose organisations and consumers to certain vulnerabilities. In particular, the risks of fraud and cybercrime have dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic as scammers have taken advantage of digital technologies to target both businesses and individuals.
As a McKinsey report illustrates, new levels of sophistication in the activities of fraudsters have placed more pressure on companies that have been previously slow to go digital, bringing “into sharp relief how vulnerable companies really are”, and damaging the financial health of small and large businesses. In fact, the Bottomline 2020 Business Payments Barometer reveals that only one in 10 small businesses across the UK report recovering more than 50% of losses due to fraud.
But take these stats with a grain of salt. While it is important to be aware of the risks and challenges this new business landscape brings, it’s equally as important to have a lens firmly across your own business, industry and audience, and to identify the changes you can make internally to mitigate risk as well as improve your customer experience. Where can you make some quick wins? Do you have the right skillsets internally to achieve what you need to achieve? What technology is out there that will enable your business goals? There are tech companies like MYPINPAD that are making huge strides in software development, which will transform businesses globally.
A digital world post-COVID
Almost a year in, the line between business success and failure remains fragile. However, an ongoing transition towards greater digitisation will be the difference between survival and the alternative.
There is a wide range of initiatives businesses can implement to weather this storm. If we look at the space MYPINPAD operates within, secure digital consumer authentication is crucial to the ongoing success and security of not only financial products but also identification and verification across a range of different industry verticals. Shifting the authentication of consumers securely onto mobile devices enables businesses to completely reshape their customer experiences. By bringing together a more seamless, frictionless customer experience, accessibility, privacy, security and access to consumer data, businesses are able to drive digital transformation across day-to-day activities.
Against this backdrop, software with stronger security standards continue to play an ever more vital role in supporting society, protecting consumers and businesses from the increase in risks that rapid digitisation brings. Already, merchants can deploy PIN on Mobile technology from companies like MYPINPAD, onto their smart devices to speed up the digitisation process many are now tackling.
Essentially, opening up universal payments and authentication methods that feel familiar, for both online and face-to-face transactions, will be key to opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to redefining how businesses engage with consumers.
Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says
LONDON (Reuters) – Food supply problems in Northern Ireland are due to Brexit because there are now a certain amount of checks on goods going between Britain and Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.
British ministers have sought to play down the disruption of Brexit in recent days.
“The supermarket shelves were full before Christmas and there are some issues now in terms of supply chains and so that’s clearly a Brexit issue,” Coveney told ITV.
The Northern Irish protocol means there are “a certain amount of checks on goods coming from GB into Northern Ireland and that involves some disruption,” he said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Tom Hogue)
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