FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong show growing preference for professional financial advice

But family remains the top source of advice amongst wealthy residents.

Over half or 52% of Hong Kong residents now believe that they couldv’e achieved better investment results in the past five years have they consulted with a financial adviser, a survey by St. James’s Place Wealth Management Asia (SJP) revealed, marking a growing preference for professional investment and financial advice.

Four in five (84%) Hong Kong respondents now say they heavily prioritise seeking financial advice before making any major financial decisions. Additionally, 62% said that they would consider engaging a financial adviser to manage investments on their behalf.

Nearly half or 49% of Hong Kong respondents ranked financial advisers as their top source of financial guidance. This is closely followed by family (46%), bankers (44%) and friends (39%).

The least sought-after sources were colleagues (24%), media (23%), and investment seminars (9%).

“As volatility has beset all traditional asset classes, retail investors are turning to trusted advisers to help manage their money,” said Matthew Deeprose, head of business, St. James’s Place Hong Kong.

However, the behavior differs amongst the wealthy. A quarter or 26% of Hong Kong residents with an annual household income of around $1m (US$130,000) still indicated family as their top source of financial advice, followed by bankers (19%) and financial advisers (17%).

In terms of financial areas, 86% of Hong Kong residents feel they need more financial advice on the topic of investments, 74% on the topic of property and mortgages, and 73% on the topic of financial planning.

Of the respondents who did receive financial advice, an overwhelming 99% of Hong Kongers found it to be useful, the survey found. Meanwhile, 94% of indicated that the advice they received was tailored to their needs.

Honesty was the most important trait to consider when choosing a professional financial adviser to work with for 59% of Hong Kongers indicating this.

For those who have not engaged a trusted financial adviser, the main barriers to this include perceptions that fees are too expensive (61%), that respondents can manage their own investments (49%), and that they don’t trust someone else to manage their money (41%).

In terms of the mode of advice, majority or 91% of Hong Kongers (91%) still prefer to receive face-to-face financial advice.

Over half or 52% in Hong Kong prefer to engage with a financial adviser and around a third or 34% in Hong Kong consult with their banker first.

In contrast, only 11% of Hong Kong residnets say that robo-advisory platforms are their preferred mode of advice.

“Unsurprisingly, whilst technology has made great strides in the investing ecosystem, we still see that investors prefer to receive face-to-face, human advice. This is because investing one’s savings and trusting in others to manage wealth can be a very emotional decision, even more so in today’s volatile markets, one that requires mutual trust, respect and reassurance,” noted Gary Harvey, CEO, St. James’s Place Singapore.

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