Home>News Center>Bizchina

Wealthy people focus on 3 new investment tools
By Sun Min (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-10-21 09:06

Insurance, housing and education fund have become the three major investment tools for wealthy people in China, while stocks are losing their gleam, according to a recent survey.

The findings of the survey are in a report jointly produced by consulting firm Horizon Group and China Merchants Bank (CMB).

The survey investigated the wealth management tools and the thoughts of 921 high-income residents in seven major domestic cities on this issue and analyzes them with special indices indicate trends.

The respondents are mostly clients of China Merchants Bank's Sunflower-brand wealth management services, which require a minimum 500,000 yuan (US$60,386) quarterly balance for membership.

The survey indicated that more high-income households are adopting a conservative investment style, preferring investments with more guarantees, such as insurance, treasury bonds and education funds.

Real estate generally remains one of the most popular investment tools, but the future growth of relevant investment is limited, especially for Beijing and Shanghai, both facing real estate bubbles.

And stock investment is also losing its previous attraction, as the stock market tumbles.

CMB has been a pioneer in the industry, adopting such systematic measures as tracing the spending and investment habits of its rich clients, who are actually a good profit resource as their demand for personal banking services increases rapidly.

It is the third time for the bank and Horizon to issue such a report, which is produced every six months.

CMB's Sunflower clients already account for more than one third of its personal banking assets.

About two thirds of such clients expressed an interest in individualized wealth management services, according to the survey.

"The report issued with Horizon aims to serve our high-end customers as it offers them a clearer picture of investment trends and the macroeconomic climate," said an official with the personal banking department of CMB.

"But after we issued the first two reports, we received more inquiries about it and some institutions wanted to buy it," he said.

Some foreign consulting companies, including McKinsey, are also paying close attention to it.

High-end customers are already a major area of competition among banks in China.

In developed countries, wealth management has long been the most profitable business for commercial banks, and the average annual profit growth remains 12-15 per cent.

But domestic banks still have a lot of catching up to do, although big foreign banks are already muscling in, bringing in foreign exchange wealth management packages and waiting for renminbi retail banking to open up before they take more aggressive measures.

An official with HSBC said that the high-income group and professionals are obviously the major target customers for the bank's retail banking business since the profits are lucrative.

And the issue is not just about the banking business. With more than 9 per cent of annual gross domestic product growth and 11 trillion yuan (US$1.3 trillion) of savings, China is witnessing a rapid expansion of the overall wealth management market, which also brings business opportunities for other financial institutions, experts said.

  Story Tools  
  Related Stories  
Housing demand poised to increase