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Asian wealth managers bullish over global economic outlook: survey

TAIPEI -- Asia's leading wealth managers, who have combined assets under management (AUM) of more than US$3 trillion, are bullish on the global economic outlook for 2012, according to the results of a survey released yesterday.

The survey, conducted by financial services provider Barclays, found that 96 percent of the region's wealth managers expect China to be able to avoid a hard landing, and that 68 percent expect an economic growth rate of between 6 and 8 percent for the Asian giant.

Consistent with last year's results, 54 percent of the respondents expect China's AUM growth rate to remain above 15 percent, the survey showed.

Indonesia, however, has overtaken India to be the country with the second-highest AUM growth expectations, with 36 percent of wealth managers expecting it go grow at a rate of 15 percent or higher.

The long-term trend of wealth accumulation in Asia is expected to continue, with nearly 90 percent of respondents expecting the number of millionaires in Asia to grow by at least 6 percent this year.

Citing the results of the survey, Philippe El-Asmar, head of Barclays' Distribution for Asia Pacific, expressed optimism for the recovery of the global economy.

“It is encouraging to see high hopes from AUM growth rates and confidence in the China, Indonesia and India stories,” El-Asmar said.

In addition, there are also signs that wealth managers remain optimistic when looking outside Asia.

When asked about their views on the probability of the European Union breaking up in the next two years, most wealth managers indicated a probability of zero or less than 25 percent.

Most wealth managers, when asked about suggestions for a global balanced risk portfolio, said that the weighting toward United States equities should increase over the next six months.

This signals a more positive outlook on the U.S. economy, Barclays said.

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