Survey reveals crisis of trust in Hong Kong financial advisers

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A global survey by the CFA Institute, a global association of finance professionals, has revealed that only 35% of Hong Kong investors completely trust the financial services industry, making them the most sceptical in Asia.

Just 7% of respondents in the territory believed that financial advisers always put clients’ interests first – the smallest proportion out of all markets surveyed, and far lower than the 35% global average.

Nick Pollard, Asia-Pacific managing director of the CFA Institute, said: “Hongkongers feel that they are the last group of people whom their advisers would put first. So there’s clearly a big gap between their expectations and what they feel is being delivered at the moment.”

The survey gleaned 12,000 responses from 12 markets internationally.

The core concern raised by investors in the survey was Hong Kong financial advisers’ lack of transparency regarding fees and communication.

The survey revealed widespread scepticism of the financial services industry, with 31% of investors in Britain and Australia trusting the industry. Only 24% of German investors trust their advisers. By contrast, Asian markets outside Hong Kong scored much higher in the survey, with 70% of respondents in China saying they trust their financial advisers, and 47% of respondents in Singapore placing their confidence in the industry.

Hong Kong’s authorities pointed to various steps that have been taken to remedy the crisis of trust affecting the industry. The Securities and Futures Commission, the regulator of Hong Kong’s financial markets, announced in November new requirements for asset management firms to disclose trailer fees.

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Christopher Copper-Ind

Christopher Copper-Ind is editor-in-chief of International Investment. Before this, he was editorial director of The Business Year, from 2014 to 2017.