Sat, Dec 18, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Friends' investment tips outweigh those of experts: poll

CONFIDENCE A report by `Global Views' showed that few people bother to consult wealth managers, and that less than half of those who do take their advice seriously

By Jackie Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Wealth management services have become a popular niche market exploited by the nation's financial institutions over the past three years, but most people still prefer consulting their friends or media for investment advice, a survey showed.

Among a wide array of possible investment information sources, 24.6 percent of the survey's 1,100 respondents said they watch financial TV programs to absorb investment tips, followed by 18.2 percent who browse the Internet and 15.1 percent who garner information from magazines, according to the report released by the Chinese-language business monthly Global Views (遠見雜誌) earlier this week.

While 13.5 percent said they rely on friends' advice before making investments, only 8.3 percent consult wealth management professionals at banks, although financial holding companies have been placing much emphasis on this field.

Of those who seek wealth managers' investment recommendations, 43 percent of those surveyed said that they did not add any financial products to their portfolios.

This might be because professionals' suggestions fail to meet investors' needs, as one-third of the respondents said.

For those who have made investments based on banks' advice, the top three investment targets are overseas funds, insurance policies and domestic funds, according to the survey, which was conducted from Oct. 21 to Oct. 23.

Compared with the US, Tai-wanese expressed a far lower willingness to entrust their assets to professionals, with only 47 percent expressing confidence in banks.

The results indicate that there is ample room for both improvement and growth for the mushrooming wealth-management business.

The poll also surveyed which of the nation's 14 financial holding companies made the best impression on the public.

Top information sources

* TV programs -- 24.6 percent

* Internet -- 18.2 percent

* Magazines -- 15.1 percent

* Friends -- 13.5 percent friends

* Wealth management professionals -- 8.3 percent

Source: Global Views

Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控) topped the ranking with 15.7 percent support, followed by Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控) with 9.2 percent, Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控) with 8.7 percent and Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控) with 4.4 percent.

Their well-known brands and good service record are cited as the most important reasons behind the ranking.

In response to a question about whether the establishment of financial holding companies has been beneficial to the public, more than 36 percent of respondents said there was no difference in the services they get, while one-third said there was.

Schive Chi (薛琦), president of the Taiwan Academy of Banking and Finance (金融研訓院), said that since only around half of the 14 financial holding companies have shown significant performance gains, it is good news to know that 30 percent of the public gave a thumbs-up to these companies' improved services.

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