Indians upbeat on financial future and decision making confidence compared to their global peers

More Indian investors seek financial advice. Satisfaction and reliance levels are high, and the advised investor feels better prepared

Mumbai, February 4, 2016 – The DSP BlackRock India Investor Pulse Survey results reflect high levels of positivity and confidence among Indians. A part of BlackRock’s Global Investor Pulse Survey, the India results show respondents being most upbeat when it comes to key parameters like positivity on financial future and confidence in investment decision making.

BlackRock’s Global Investor Pulse survey provides insights into how people across the globe are dealing with their life decisions and how they are approaching their finances. BlackRock conducted a major research survey of 31,139 people across 20 markets, in conjunction with Cicero Group, a leading independent research agency. The aim of the survey is to take the annual ‘pulse’ of investors and to better understand their financial needs and their saving and investment behaviour.

India has been included in the BlackRock Global Investor Pulse Survey since 2014. The survey in India was conducted online among 1,500 respondents aged 25–74, who had a role in financial decision making.
Asking people what is on their mind revealed five key financial themes:

·         Despite global economic uncertainties, financial sentiment among Indians is the most positive of all markets surveyed, and savings and investment decision-making confidence is very high.

·         Family plays a major role for Indians in their investment decision making. Responsibilities are shared with other family members; advice is still sought from family, friends and colleagues.

·         Indians are looking to reduce their exposure to idle cash and invest their money in other asset classes. Physical assets such as property and gold are still popular among investors..

·         Indians are the highest consumers of financial advice in the world. Satisfaction with and reliance on professional financial advice is also high in India.

·         Most Indians have started saving specifically for retirement. While there is a high level of confidence in achieving their expected retirement income, a significant number also expressed concerns regarding living comfortably post retirement.

‘Indians’ mentioned in this survey are representative of the respondent profile mentioned above.
Investor sentiment

Indians, along with the Chinese, are the most positive about their financial future, among all global markets surveyed. They are also highly confident in their financial decision making. Advised Indians had the highest level of positivity on their financial future and confidence in financial decision making.

High cost of living and healthcare costs are prevalent concerns, prompting Indians to make saving money, growing their wealth and long-term healthcare some of their top financial priorities. Indians tend to associate financial independence with earning their own income from work and never having to ask anyone for money.

Most Indians feel that issues such as India’s economic performance, job market and economic reforms have either improved or remained consistent over the past year. Local stock market performance, infrastructure development and government economic and development reforms inspire the highest confidence levels while affordability of real estate is a concern.

Asset allocation and investment trends
India has among the highest incidences of saving and investment among all global markets surveyed. Indians acknowledge that they are over-exposed to cash and deposits and believe that they should lower their allocation to these asset classes.
Almost half of Indians would like to increase their exposure to stocks and equity mutual funds over the next 12 months. Indians appreciate the growth potential and value creation from equities including mutual funds, however, they still like the perceived assurance from traditional asset classes.
Better knowledge about investing would encourage more than two-fifths of investors to move more of their cash into investments.
Investment habits and decision-making
Over 80% of respondents feel that they take financial planning seriously and that having a financial plan gives them peace of mind. When it comes to long-term savings and investments, family and friends, banks, financial advisors and online sources are the most common sources of information for Indians. Retirement children’s education and buying a home are the top three investment goals for Indians.

61% of household financial decision-making is made independently by a single member of the family. When household financial decision-making responsibilities are shared, nearly 80% of the time, it is shared with the spouse. Of those who do share financial decision making, only 31% of women respondents are likely to make the final decision compared to 60% of men. Around 60% of male respondents feel that their spouse knows as much or more than them when it comes to their investments while the corresponding figure for women respondents is over 90%.

Relationship with financial advisor

When asked who is the first person to come to mind when hearing the words ‘financial advisor, the top two responses included family and IFAs. 58% of Indians are using financial advice, with a higher percentage of women taking financial advice as compared to men.

77% of advised Indians use a financial advisor for most or all financial decisions. For those who do not pay a fee for financial advice, a majority of them would still retain their financial advisor if they started charging a fee.

83% of advised Indians pay a fee for financial advice, and 88% of those advised believe they are receiving excellent or good value for their money. Seeking new investment ideas and minimizing risk while investing are the most discussed topics with financial advisors. Women value the ability of a financial advisor to explain financial matters in a manner that they understand            .

Retirement

Most Indians recognize the need to plan for retirement and have started to save specifically for it. While Indians feel confident that they will achieve their desired annual retirement income, they still express concern that they won’t be able to live comfortably post retirement.

Indians who are saving for retirement, mentioned ‘high cost of living’ and ‘child’s education’ as key factors making it difficult to save for retirement. Those Indians who haven’t started saving for retirement mentioned ‘other priorities’ and ‘not earning enough money’ as reasons why they haven’t started yet.

Indians seemed to significantly underestimate the corpus they would need for a comfortable retirement.
“India’s relatively stronger positioning among global markets is reflected in the upbeat investor sentiment shown in the survey,” said S Naganath, President & Chief Investment Officer, DSP BlackRock Investment Managers Pvt. Ltd. “The findings of the DSP BlackRock Investor Pulse Survey on investor preferences, retirement planning and financial advice continue to be encouraging,” he added.

“The advised investor in this survey stands out because of their sanguine confidence when taking care of their finances,” said Aditi Kothari Desai, EVP, Head- Sales and Marketing, DSP BlackRock Investment Managers Pvt. Ltd.  “The survey findings on investment decision making and insights on what men and women value from financial advisors can be beneficial for financial intermediaries to customize their communication for maximum impact.” she added.