Many remain wary of private investments: Survey

08:33, July 18, 2011      

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Middle-class families play significant roles in China nowadays, and they tend to manage their growing wealth more rationally in the face of a rising consumer price index (CPI).

However, finding a good return on investments is proving to be increasingly elusive.

"I used to buy stocks but have stopped now for this year. The index is always falling," said Li Jing, a middle-aged white-collar worker in Beijing. "Real estates is a better way to invest. Price soar every year."

Li said that she might buy equities in the future if the stock market showed a rising trend. She said managing finances took up a lot of time and it was difficult to make money without professional advice.

According to a survey conducted by market research company Ipsos and Ping An-UOB Fund, 48 percent of families who invested in various financial vehicles made a profit in 2010 while 22 percent made a loss. The remainder saw no change in their investments.

The survey found that nearly 60 percent of Chinese families had some experience of investment experience and 23 percent refused to manage their money.

Of the latter, half said they "do not know much about investments" while the rest said they either lack adequate funds and time, worried about the risk and considered the money they made through regular work was sufficient.

"More and more people are aware of investment management but most of them lack in-depth knowledge," said Lin Hai, managing director of Capital Synergy Invest Management Co Ltd.

Lin said most buyers of funds, mainly owners of private companies and white-collar workers, are either radical or conservative, while third-party professional companies are trying to make short-term profits.

According to the survey, families who made a profit on their investments tend to share certain characteristics and strategies. Nearly a quarter of them like to manage finances with professional help and keep an eye on share-price fluctuations. They often do not pursue high profits that involve high risk and they tend to make long-term investments. They also usually set a point at which a profit will be made and sell once it reaches it.

"Citigroup holds a positive view of China's stock," said Oliver Chiu, assistant vice-president and head of research and investment advisory in the Wealth Management Unit at Global Consumer Group, Citi China. "The recent volatility is temporary, which provided opportunities for medium- and long-term investment. The Shanghai A-share index should see a 3670-point level. Sometimes the larger the fluctuations in the stock market, the higher the payback. The fall of stock prices could be a good factor, which is consistent with the pattern of the world economy since the financial crisis in 2008."

The Ipsos and Ping An-UOB Fund survey collected data from more than 1,600 families with annual incomes between 55,000 yuan ($8,462) and 400,000 yuan and a monthly income approximately between 6,000 yuan to 15,000 yuan and above. These middle-income families spend 30 to 40 percent of their total income on financial investment.

The survey indicated steady and long-term investments are better for good returns and face smaller risks. It also found that past experiences of profit and loss make a considerable impact on families' future investment decisions.

Stocks, funds, investment insurance and real estate take up the top four financial products people tend to choose from, in that order. Gold trading, antiques, foreign exchange and futures remain less popular.

On the subject of what the motivation behind investing is, 67 percent of families said they wanted to increase their wealth. Half of the families worried about the current economic situation, including inflation, and were planning for the future.

Chiu said Citigroup expected export and economic growth will continue to decelerate in the second-half of the year, adding there was a greater chance of an economic soft landing, which could to decrease inflation.

Buying gold could be a wise investment, he added.

Source:China Daily
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