How do high net worth (HNW) investors in Asia expect the markets to perform in the near future? And what are their thoughts on current topics in the financial markets? The LGT Asia Investor Sentiment survey ascerts the investor sentiment as well as the views on the global economy, trade and other related topics of high net worth investors in Singapore and Hong Kong on a quarterly basis.
Our interpretation of the survey results for the second quarter of 2019 is that investors in Hong Kong and Singapore turned more bearish in light of global trade tensions and ensuing slower economic growth. We detect a more defensive tilt in asset allocation (greater preference for US stocks and real estate, in particular) and an interesting bifurcation in investment horizons: we see both an increase in respondents who have a shorter or longer equity-holding period. This can potentially be explained in that some investors are weary of trade related news flow, and are trading more frequently. Alternatively, for those taking a longer-term view, they may be thinking that it is best to hold onto existing investments and ride out the volatility, in the hope that the US and China resolve their differences amicably, in due course.
The LGT Asia Investment Sentiment survey was conducted between 3 June and 16 June, covering 307 HNWI (154 based in Singapore and 153 in Hong Kong). The online questionnaire featured 60% males and 40% females, with the age brackets ranging (18-35), (36-50) and (50+ years); each bracket represented roughly one third of total respondents. Each individual in the survey has at least USD one million in liquid, investable assets, with 32% holding more than USD two million. Eighty-eight percent have at least one account with a wealth management firm; one-half of those respondents have relationships with two or more wealth managers. During the survey period, global equities (MSCI AC World) advanced +3.78%, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil dropped -1.39%, gold gained +1.83% (all in USD terms), and the US dollar (DXY index) was largely unchanged.