THE perception that Hong Kong is being passed over in favour of other regional markets by fund managers and asset allocators has been a persistent, albeit unproved, hypothesis.
That is, until now.
Salomon Brothers has issued an illuminating research paper on British fund managers' asset allocation in Asia, excluding Japan, which supports the view that Hong Kong is losing out in favour of other emerging regional stock markets.
The research examined 16 offshore mutual funds with an aggregate net asset value of GBP2.5 billion (about HK$30.15 billion).
The report found that since mid-1992, the allocation of this group of funds into Hong Kong equities has seen a steady downtrend from 46 per cent to 29 per cent today.
Salomon cites the emergence of new markets and the belief that other regional markets offer better investment potential as reasons for the decline.
The chief beneficiary is not Thailand or Malaysia, as one would have expected, but South Korea, where allocations have risen from two per cent to 12 per cent over the past two years.
Thailand has lost out to Indonesia, Taiwan and the Indian sub-continent.
Its allocations have fallen from 20 per cent early last year to 11 per cent, while Indonesia has gained two percentage points to six per cent, and Taiwan is up three percentage points to four per cent.
A final note is the amount of cash holdings, which has dropped from highs of 10 per cent to two per cent.