Hong Kong men are confident investors while women are disciplined savers, says survey

Women’s weaker appetite for investment relative to men may be due to perception that investment is a form of gambling, says BlackRock.

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 06 March, 2016, 3:13pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 06 March, 2016, 3:13pm

Hong Kong men are confident investors while women are disciplined savers, but both genders set high financial priorities to save for retirement, a survey shows.

The city has nurtured a generation of women who value saving, with 44 per cent of women in Hong Kong setting “saving money” as their current financial priority, compared to 36 per cent of men, according to the Global Investor Pulse Survey conducted by New York-listed BlackRock.

The survey, released one day ahead of Women’s Day, polled more than 31,000 individuals across 20 markets, including 1,000 in Hong Kong.

“Hong Kong women prefer saving to investing. 14 per cent of women in Hong Kong say that they only have savings, with no investments at all, compared with eight per cent of men who say the same,” according to the report.

When it comes to investment ownership, 90 per cent of men claim to have investments compared to 84 per cent of women.

Hong Kong women hold nearly half of their portfolio in a cash vehicle (49 per cent), higher than men (42 per cent).

About one in seven men hold alternative investments – such as in private equity, hedge funds, real estate investment trusts, or futures – compared to one in 12 women.

Hong Kong women’s weaker appetite for investment relative to men may be caused by the perception that investment is a form of gambling, said BlackRock.

“It is interesting that the phrase ‘men are from Mars, women are from Venus’ may also apply in financial planning. Our survey shows that Hong Kong men are confident investors while women are disciplined savers,” said Julia Lee, head of Hong Kong retail business at BlackRock.

“Hong Kong women could move a step forward by equipping themselves and building the confidence to invest so as to prepare better for their retirement,” she said.

But it is important that men and women learn from each other and make the best of their investment portfolios in order to meet their long-term retirement needs, she said.

Both Hong Kong men and women understand the importance of retirement planning and use external sources to help make long-term savings and investment decisions, the survey shows.

The survey also reveals that both genders share similar financial priorities and understand the need to save for retirement.

Both women (61 per cent ) and men (59 per cent) put a high priority on saving for retirement. In spite of this, both groups are concerned about outliving their savings in retirement . This issue is slightly compounded for women as nearly half (47 per cent ) are concerned that they started saving for their retirement too late, compared with 44 per cent of Hong Kong men.

Compared with men, Hong Kong women have a stronger sense of filial piety, according to the survey. A quarter of Hong Kong women are currently saving to support their parents, higher than Hong Kong men at 21 per cent. In particular, single women in Hong Kong feel a strong financial responsibility towards their parents.

One-fifth of men in Hong Kong say they are saving to leave an inheritance, while only 13 per cent of women in Hong Kong share the same view.