Highest HK earners not the best investors

Bachelors and bachelorettes looking to marry are the most confident in their investment capabilities, but have the least amount of wealth to invest, finds a new survey.
Highest HK earners not the best investors

Hong Kong’s highest earning young single professionals are not necessarily the most prescient investors, according to a survey by US fund house Fidelity Worldwide Investment.

Moreover, the firm found that bachelors and bachelorettes open to marriage tend to be more aggressive and confident in their investment activities, although they have fewer assets to invest.

Fidelity was aiming to analyse executives’ investment strategies and marital aspirations. A total of 557 single professionals aged 30 to 49 with a monthly income of at least HK$12,000 ($1,547) took part in the survey.

Fidelity broke down respondents into four categories – platinum, gold, silver and bronze – depending on their education background, job hierarchy and average monthly personal income. 

Gold-grade singles – those earning on average HK$26,400 ($3,404) per month – are apparently the most successful investors. Roughly 80% of these investors reported average gains of 15% in the past 12 months.

The platinum-grade bachelors and bachelorettes meanwhile – those earning an average of HK$43,150 ($5,565) per month – only recorded modest investment returns. In the past 12 months, 25% reported gains of 10% or higher, while another 25% posted losses of 10% or more.

While the platinum group had high levels of investment penetration – 89% of males and 86% of females all said they have some portion of their wealth invested – the actual amount of money allocated to investment portfolios is low. Men have an average of HK$664,520 ($85,707) invested, or 47% of their total wealth, while women have HK$441,900 ($56,994) in portfolios, or 34% of their total wealth.

The survey also finds that platinum singles are ‘self-reliant’ investors – that is, they are less likely to turn to a financial adviser. Some 67% of these individuals make their investment decisions themselves, with only 28% using financial planners.

This is probably due to the fact that most of them are senior executives in management roles. They are therefore confident in their ability to manage money, and also lack the time to sufficiently review their portfolios, says Bruno Lee, regional head of retail Asia ex-Japan at Fidelity. However, he says this group should seek more professional advice on wealth planning.

Fidelity also found that singles’ investment behaviour and outlooks on marriage differ. Sixty-eight percent of respondents are open to marriage, while 15% aren’t sure and 18% said they had no intention to get married.

The pro-marriage respondents are also the most knowledgeable and aggressive in their investment behaviour, yet their average liquid assets are HK$682,240 ($87,992), the lowest out of the three groups.

Those uncertain about marriage had the highest amount of investable assets, totalling HK$938,240 ($121,010) on average, while those who have given up on the prospect of walking down the aisle have HK$727,050 ($93,772) on average.

However, the survey also notes that more executives who aim to get married have enjoyed recent investment gains compared with those not planning to wed. Sixty-two percent of investors open to marriage reported gains in the past 12 months, whereas only 49% of investors not interested in marriage had gains in the same time period.

Investors not planning on marriage appear to be the least familiar on investing. Only 14% said they are knowledgeable or very knowledgeable. They are quite conservative as well: 64% claim they are prudent with investment, compared with 50% of those who are seeking a life partner.

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