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Wealth managers downplay possibility of hard landing

Updated: 2012-04-23 13:14


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BEIJING - Leading Asian wealth managers expected China's economy will manage to avoid a hard landing and expand moderately in 2012, according to a Barclays survey released Monday.

When asked about the outlook for China's economy over the coming year, an overwhelming majority of 96 percent expected China would avoid a hard landing, and 68 percent expected a moderate growth rate of between 6 to 8 percent, said the survey, which reflected the opinions of 109 wealth managers from 65 firms across eight Asian countries.

A total of 54 percent of wealth managers expected China's Assets Under Management (AUM) growth rate to remain above 15 percent in 2012, the fastest in Asia, and Indonesia will overtake India to become the second fastest growing AUM market.

Overall, the survey showed the long-term trend of wealth accumulation in Asia is expected to continue. A majority of respondents expected the number of millionaires in Asia to grow this year, with 64 percent indicating a growth rate between 6 to 15 percent.

"We are seeing growing optimism for the recovery of the global economy," said Philippe El-Asmar, head of distribution for Asia Pacific at Barclays.

Asian wealth managers were also optimistic concerning areas outside the Asia Pacific region. Most of them recommended funds buy more US equities in the next six months, given a robust US recovery. As for Europe, most managers believed the possibility of a breaking up of the bloc is less than 25 percent.

The survey also showed equities continued to be the most actively used asset class, and gold the most favored hedging instrument this year.

However, 59 percent of respondents indicated that capital protection is the most commonly used strategy.

"Evidently, risk aversion is still top of mind for investors," said Peter Hu, head of investor solutions at Barclays. "While optimism is budding in the market, people are still vigilant on risks," he said.