Surveys measure investor views on investment choices, financial goals
and economic outlook in the world's biggest and fastest-growing markets
Manulife Investor Sentiment Index rose to +21 in Asia (from +17) and to +35 in Canada (from +31), while the John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index rose to +26 in the U.S (from +24)
TORONTO, HONG KONG, July 9, 2013 /CNW/ - Investors in many of the
largest economies in the world appear upbeat about their financial
futures, according to second quarter 2013 Investor Sentiment Surveys
conducted simultaneously by Manulife Financial and John Hancock.
The second Manulife Investor Sentiment Survey in Asia, based on 3,500
interviews across China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia
and Indonesia, produced an overall Index score of +21. In Canada, the
Index score was +35. In the U.S., the Index score was +26.
"The surveys clearly indicate that investor sentiment is improving
markedly. Survey data from three of the largest economies in the world
- the United States, China and Japan - as well as Canada and other
nations indicate a very positive turn in outlook," said Donald A.
Guloien, President and Chief Executive Officer of Manulife Financial.
In Asia, key drivers of the Index were positive views of stocks (+15),
mutual funds/unit trusts (+14) and real estate (+19). Overall sentiment
was highest in Indonesia (with an individual Index score of +60), and
Malaysia (+48). The largest rise in sentiment occurred in Japan (from
+4 to +21). Only one market, Hong Kong, strayed into negative sentiment
In Canada, the Index score was driven by investors' optimistic views on
investing in their own homes (+70), balanced mutual funds (+47) and
stocks (+32). Canadians also believe it is a good time to invest in
real estate (+34).
In the U.S., the Index score was driven by investors' positive attitudes
toward investing in their own homes (+62), stocks (+54), real estate
(+53), and balanced mutual funds (+51).
"Amid steadily improving equity markets in Asia and North America,
investors appear to be regaining confidence in investing in companies
and in longer-term, less liquid assets such as real estate, as the
rebound continues from the multi-year worldwide recession," said Bill
Cheney, Chief Economist, Manulife Financial.
Manulife began surveying investor sentiment 14 years ago. The surveys
now include 5,500 investors across markets in Asia, the United States
Financial priorities and outlook
Investors in Asia, Canada and the U.S. were also asked about their top
financial priorities, whether or not they are on track with their
financial goals, and whether or not they expect their personal
financial position to improve over the next two years.
Top financial priority. Saving for retirement ranked as the top financial priority for
investors in Asia (21 percent) and Canada (22 percent). In the U.S.,
this was the second top financial priority (23 percent), following
maintaining one's current lifestyle (30 percent).
Reaching financial goals. At least half of investors in all three regions said they are on track
to achieve their financial goals (Asia 50 percent, Canada 61 percent,
U.S. 60 percent). In Asia, investors in Malaysia (62 percent) and China
(64 percent) were the most on track. Similar proportions of investors
across all three regions reported being ahead of plan (Asia eight
percent, Canada 12 percent, U.S. ten percent).
Present and future financial position. While 46 percent of Asia investors believe they are in a better
financial position today than they were two years ago, higher numbers
of Canadians (56 percent) and Americans (53 percent) share that
sentiment. Looking two years ahead, 57 percent of Asian investors, 61
percent of Canadians, and 49 percent of Americans think they will be in
an improved financial position.
About the Investor Sentiment Index
In the three regional surveys, investors were asked to rate each of six
investment categories on a five-point scale, indicating whether they
think it is a very good time to invest, a good time, neither a good nor
a bad time, a bad time, or a very bad time. The investment categories
are: stocks/equities, bonds/fixed income, primary residence/one's own
home, real estate (other than primary residence), mutual funds/unit
trusts (holding a combination of stocks/bonds), and cash-like
instruments (certificates of deposit, money market accounts, etc.).
During the surveys, slight modifications were made in the descriptions
of each investment category in order to allow for different regional
For each investment category, an Index score was calculated as the
percentage saying it is a good time and a very good time to invest
minus the percentage saying it is a bad time and a very bad time to
In each region, the overall Investor Sentiment Index is the average of
the six investment category indices. The Manulife Investor Sentiment
Index in Asia is an average of indices in the seven Asian markets
About the Manulife Investor Sentiment Index in Asia
It is a quarterly, proprietary survey tracking investors' views across
seven markets in the region on their attitudes towards key asset
classes and investment vehicles. The survey is based on 500 online
interviews in each market of Hong Kong, China, Taiwan, Japan, and
Singapore; in Malaysia and Indonesia it is conducted face-to-face.
Surveys took place mid-April to May 2013. Respondents were middle
class to affluent investors, aged 25 years and above who are the
primary decision maker of financial matters in the household and
currently have investment products.
About the Manulife Investor Sentiment Index in Canada
The online survey was conducted among a sample of 1,001 Canadian
investors from May 16 through May 27, 2013. Respondents were household
financial decision-makers aged 25+, with a household income of $75,000+
and investable assets of $100,000+. In a similarly-sized random sample
survey, the margin of error would be plus or minus 3.1 percentage
points at the 95 percent confidence level.
About the John Hancock Investor Sentiment Index
John Hancock's quarterly Investor Sentiment Survey was conducted online,
with 1,078 investors surveyed from May 13th to May 24th, 2013. The question regarding 'reaching financial goals' was asked in
the Q4 2012 wave with 1,127 investors surveyed November 26th to December 7th, 2012. To qualify, respondents were required to participate at least
to some extent in their household's financial decision-making process,
have a household income of at least $75,000, and assets of $100,000 or
more. In a similarly-sized random sample survey, the margin of error
would be plus or minus 3.05 percentage points for Q2 2013 and 3.0 for
Q4 2012 (at the 95 percent confidence level).
About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canada-based financial services group
with principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States.
Clients look to Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and
forward-thinking solutions for their most significant financial
decisions. Our international network of employees, agents and
distribution partners offers financial protection and wealth management
products and services to millions of clients. We also provide asset
management services to institutional customers. Funds under management
by Manulife Financial and its subsidiaries were C$555 billion (US$$547
billion) as at March 31, 2013. The Company operates as Manulife
Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the
Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE,
and under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the
Internet at manulife.com.
Image with caption: " Investors in Asia and North America appear upbeat about their financial futures. (CNW Group/Manulife Financial Corporation)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20130709_C6032_PHOTO_EN_28857.jpg
SOURCE: Manulife Financial Corporation
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