Global markets may be in turmoil due to the euro-zone debt crisis, but financial advisers in Hong Kong and Singapore are more confident about the performance of their local economies now than they were in the last quarter of last year.
The International Adviser Confidence Barometer survey conducted by Royal Skandia Investment Group shows that confidence in the global economy among financial advisers in Asia has risen to 5.4 out of 10 from 5.1 in the fourth quarter of last year. However, this is just slightly lower than the global average of 5.5.
The survey showed that advisers operating in Asia remain upbeat about their local economies with a slight rise in confidence levels from 6.5 in the last quarter to 6.6 this time. This represents a positive outlook when compared to a global average of 5.6 out of 10, with European advisers feeling the least optimistic, reporting a confidence level of just 4.4 in their local economies. Respondents from Hong Kong and Singapore reported a confidence level of 6.7, the highest of all regions surveyed. This is the same as last quarter for Singapore and marginally higher for Hong Kong. More than two-thirds of financial advisers in Asia surveyed believe the European debt crisis is the biggest threat to their region, and this is in contrast to the previous quarter where global contagion was seen as the biggest potential issue. Inflation was selected as the second biggest threat by advisers with more than half of respondents believing this may negatively impact their local region.
A quarter of the advisers questioned believe that emerging Asian equities is the sector most likely to offer the best potential returns in the next 12 months.
Nearly 15 per cent of respondents in Asia also felt that Asian equities and gold would offer the best returns.
Advisers operating in Asia were least confident about European equities, excluding Britain, British equities and British fixed interest, with none selecting these as the sector most likely to offer the best returns over the next year.
'The European debt crisis has had a significant impact on the industry. The findings of this survey clearly show that advisers in Asia are concerned about the effects of this on not only the global economy but their own region,' says Michael Leeson, head of sales in Hong Kong at Royal Skandia.