Hong Kong youngsters and elders are at opposite poles in terms of investment. Young investors like cash and have little confidence in investing in stocks and bonds, while the city's seniors are the world's most active and confident investors. Fifty-four per cent of investors in Hong Kong aged 65 to 74 take an active approach and 86 per cent are confident that they are making the right investment decisions, according to a global survey by BlackRock, the world's largest asset management company. The survey covered 17,600 investors worldwide, including 1,000 in Hong Kong, in August. Eighty per cent of the eldest investors are positive about their financial future, higher than the Hong Kong average of 64 per cent and the global average of 48 per cent. By contrast, investors aged 25 to 34 have been called the "lost generation" by BlackRock as only 32 per cent are actively engaged. Fifty-six per cent of their portfolio is cash, higher than that for other age groups, where cash makes up on average 44 per cent. These youngest investors put 26 per cent of their portfolio in stocks, which is the lowest for all age groups; the average is 28 per cent. Only 6 per cent of their portfolio is in property, also below the average, at 12 per cent. The young are also the most pessimistic about their financial future, with 41 per cent negative, compared with the only 13 per cent of the eldest investors having those views. "Despite a high interest in financial matters, this youngest group is not as actively investing as the older groups," said Damien Mooney, head of retail business for Asia ex-Japan at BlackRock. "They are ready to invest but a lack of experience and knowledge has discouraged them from doing so. They are in need of professional guidance. "For investors with an eye on the future, taking a step out of cash into other asset classes like stocks and bonds will enable them to further diversify their portfolios and grow their wealth in the long run." In Japan, seniors also play a key role in investment markets. Nikko Asset Management chief investment officer Hiroki Tsujimura said the government's target of boosting inflation to 2 per cent within two years, in a bid to revive the economy, would encourage older people to shift part of their savings into stocks or other investment products. "Sixty per cent of the 8.5 trillion yen [HK$658.3 billion] in bank deposits is held by those aged 60 or above," Tsujimura said. "These are the investors who experienced the high inflation bubble in the 1980s and they know they need to invest their cash into investment products to achieve better returns and beat inflation. "Even if a small amount of the cash savings shifts to the stock market, this would provide a huge amount of liquidity to the stock market in Japan." For the younger generation of Japanese investors, their interest in stocks could be encouraged by a tax exemption scheme, which starts in January next year, Tsujimura said.