Quebecers most skeptical; record lowest sentiment score at +8
Albertans top Index as most optimistic with +30 score
WATERLOO, ON, Jan. 6, 2014 /CNW/ - Despite the continued market
recovery, Canadian investors remain wary and continue to take a
conservative approach to investment and savings vehicles as evidenced
by a one-point dip (to +21) in the latest Manulife Financial Investor
Sentiment Index. Nowhere is investor skepticism more apparent than in
Quebec where the Index sits at +8 - only three points higher than
pre-economic crisis levels in 2008 (+5).
Twice annually, the Investor Sentiment Index survey measures Canadian
investors' views on a range of asset classes and savings and investment
vehicles - as well as their confidence in these areas. It also asks
Canadians a broad range of additional questions about topics including
financial priorities and retirement.
"It is quite surprising to see that Quebecers recorded the lowest
numbers across the entire investment and savings product spectrum. We
really haven't seen any reason to suggest this kind of pessimism," said
Guy Couture, Regional Vice-President, Retail Markets. "Quebecers don't
believe it's a good time to put money into investment or savings
products, nor do they find it a good time to be keeping cash, so maybe
there are some well-padded mattresses in Quebec."
In fact, Quebec residents ranked whether it was a good time to invest in
every investment and savings product - including stocks, real estate,
your own home, cash, balanced mutual funds, fixed income products,
TFSAs, RRSPs and Mutual Funds - substantially lower than Canadians in
all other provinces.
Only 43 per cent of Quebec investors said it was a good or very good
time to invest in your own home - the most popular investment choice
across Canada - compared to 66 per cent in Alberta and 65 per cent in
Atlantic Canada, the provinces where it ranked highest. Additionally,
while Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSA) ranked highest as a savings
vehicle across Canada - 71 per cent of Manitoba and Saskatchewan
residents ranked it most popular - only 45 per cent of Quebec residents
said it was a good or very good time to save using a TFSA.
"Quebecers may be overly cautious after the financial crisis, but it may
be paying off in some regards," added Mr. Couture. "In comparison to
other provinces, Quebec leads the way with more than half of residents
reporting that they are on track with their financial goals (53 per
cent). Another six per cent report that they are currently ahead of
their financial goals, which is second only to Alberta at eight per
cent. This is good news."
Different story in Alberta
Alberta residents provided the highest Investor Sentiment Index scores
with sentiment there reaching +30.
However, while Alberta residents were also the most likely to say they
are ahead of plan on their financial goals (eight per cent), one in
four Albertans (25 per cent) also said that they are in a worse
financial position than two years ago. Albertans were also most likely
to say that they will be in a worse financial position two years from
now (10 per cent).
"Alberta's economic growth is predicted to lead the Canadian economy
over the next couple of years. It may be the case that while there is a
boom in the economy there and lots of jobs are being created, Albertans
have fallen into a bit of a false sense of security and are spending
what they make and perhaps beyond," said Mr. Couture. "It will take
good savings discipline, the right financial plan and smart investments
to ensure they continue to meet their financial goals."
Other provincial highlights:
Overall, Canadians are optimistic about their financial futures with
nearly half of residents in every province reporting that they will be
in a better financial position two years from now.
Ontario residents are less likely to feel on track with their current
financial goals - 37 per cent compared with Quebec leading at 53 per
cent followed by Manitoba and Saskatchewan at 47 per cent.
Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents were most likely to say that they
are in a better financial position than they were two years ago (49 per
cent), compared with Atlantic Canada with 39 per cent and Ontario and
Quebec with 35 per cent.
BC residents (23 per cent) were most likely to say that they are behind
on their financial goals and are unlikely to catch up.
Atlantic Canadians were most likely to say that it is a good time to
invest in stocks (31 per cent) and segregated funds (28 per cent).
About the Manulife Financial Investor Sentiment Index
The Manulife Financial Investor Sentiment Index is a semi-annual measure
of investors' views on a range of asset classes and savings and
investment vehicles, as well as their confidence in these areas. The
index is based on an online survey of 2,000 Canadians aged 25+ that was
conducted between November 12-22 by Research House, an Environics
Company. A national probability sample of this size would have a margin
of error of +/-2.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
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$575 billion (US$559
billion) as at September 30, 2013. The Company operates as Manulife
Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as John Hancock in the
United States. 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.
SOURCE: Manulife Financial Corporation
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