World's millionaires still upbeat about future: Poll

'Most unpredictable' times but 8 in 10 in S'pore remain confident

Millionaires across the world believe these are the "most unpredictable" times in history, but most are still optimistic about their future, said a new survey out yesterday.

A UBS Wealth Management survey found nearly 80 per cent of Singapore millionaires are confident of their ability to assess financial risks, with more than 90 per cent trusting their own instincts when making financial decisions.

In those areas, Singapore millionaires are more confident than their Hong Kong and Japanese counterparts, said Swiss bank UBS. Globally, 77 per cent are confident.

UBS Wealth Management surveyed 2,842 millionaires - including 401 here - across seven markets including Hong Kong, Italy and Switzerland on their attitudes and investment focus for the year.

At least 400 millionaires were surveyed in each market from January to February this year, and at least 30 per cent were women.

The survey found Singapore millionaires are confident in their outlook as they believe "they can find safe places to invest their money in an uncertain environment".

The domestic market offers security for their money, said 70 per cent, while 75 per cent said the same about physical assets, and 77 per cent felt that way about cash, despite the risks of holding these assets, noted UBS. Also, 85 per cent of Singapore millionaires believe that "democratic elections contribute to stability", and the survey found Switzerland has a similarly high number of those who believe the same.

Mr Eddie Gan, market head for Singapore at UBS Wealth Management, added: "One of the key global survey findings indicate that while investors are focused on long-term planning for their investments, they are often distracted by short-term events. This has resulted in short- term investment views, with people reacting to each event as uncertainty grows."

UBS Wealth Management recommends that investors focus on the long term instead of reacting to short-term events or distractions, and maintain a diversified portfolio. It said: "Exposure to a broad range of assets and geographies is essential. It helps to avoid the risks of domestic biases. Adding alternative investments can provide another source of protection against global and regional uncertainty while offering attractive yield opportunities in the mid to longer term."

UBS Wealth Management also said cash seems to be attractive especially when things are unpredictable, "but inflation erodes its value, meaning that cash assets can damage your financial health in the long term".

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 18, 2017, with the headline 'World's millionaires still upbeat about future: Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe