Women show caution

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 November, 2011, 12:00am


Do professional women in Hong Kong differ in their investment habits compared to their male counterparts? The answer is revealed in a survey conducted by an international fund management firm that shows that women need to change their attitude towards investment.

Fidelity Worldwide Investment has released the results of its Women Wealth Management Study, as part of its Investor Education Series. Fidelity interviewed 517 single and married women with the aim to: examine Hong Kong women's current financial planning behaviour and attitudes; understand women's roles and attitudes in the management of individual versus household wealth, and explore areas of opportunity where Fidelity can help women to better plan their personal or household finance.

Hong Kong's female population aged 25-54 now accounts for about 30 per cent of the population against males of the same age group at about 22 per cent, so their attitudes and investment behaviour are more important than ever.

The survey found that Hong Kong women tend to adopt a conservative to moderate mindset in managing investment, and believe they are prudent, risk-averse and informed investors. They believe men are more knowledgeable, experienced, better informed and more impulsive.

When making investment decisions, more married women believe men make smarter, more prudent decisions. More than 35 per cent of women do not keep track of how much money they have won or lost over the past two years.

The survey also reveals that women's wealth grows quickly when they get to their mid-30s. Of women from the ages of 35 to 44, 22 per cent have HK$1 million of liquid assets or more, against only 5 per cent from 25 to 34.

Married women also have more liquid assets; with one in four having HK$1 million or more. Some 42 per cent manage the family's entire reserve, while 30 per cent earn more than their spouse, Fidelity's survey showed.

Most women seek a conservative asset mix of bank deposits with some stock investments, although it appears that more have realised putting money in bank deposits will not work.

While 84 per cent will put more money into investment in the next two years, only 57 per cent will place money in deposits. Other popular investment products are stocks, foreign exchange and gold.

'It is time to call for a change in women's overall wealth management mindset,' says Kerry Ching, country head, Hong Kong of Fidelity.

'As owners of considerable disposable income and resources of their own, and often stewards of family resources, they can make a difference to the wealth of their family and their own by realising that they are as smart as others and adopt investment strategy actively and early in their life.

'The final conclusions are that women are assuming a more important role in managing their own wealth as well as their family wealth. In general, most of them adopt conservative strategies in investing.