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Carefree retirement? Gloomy Swiss investors ready to emigrate

It all adds up: cash is very popular among Swiss investors


Swiss investors assume that in order to retire comfortably in Switzerland, they need at least CHF500,000 ($505,000) per person. One in three intends to emigrate if they do not meet these savings goals, according to an international survey. 

Investors in other European countries believe their capital requirements when it comes to retirement to be considerably lower: the European average is around CHF300,000. 

US investment management firm Legg Mason carried out a survey, published on Tuesday, spanning 5,370 major investors in 19 countries, asking them their views about the financial markets. 

“Unsurprisingly, cash and concrete (i.e. property) seem to be very popular among Swiss investors. Also, Swiss investors seem to be quite comfortable with their understanding of financial products. As a result only around a third uses a financial advisor,” said Christian Zeitler, country head of Legg Mason in Switzerland. 

In Switzerland, 35% of those surveyed said they would emigrate to a country with a lower cost of living if they failed to achieve their savings goals. In Britain and Germany, this is only a likely option for 8% and 7% respectively of those questioned. 

The authors said most Swiss investors (72%) take a long-term view in their investments, compared with the European average of 61%. Italy is the only country where the majority (56%) of investors pursue short-term investment goals, with the aim of making their day-to-day life more comfortable. 

Strong franc 

Some 60% of 18- to 39-year-olds and 63% of over-40s say that they are more risk averse than they were a year ago, according to the study. 

This negative attitude is also evident when it comes to assessing the investment climate: 45% of younger investors are pessimistic regarding the economic outlook for the coming year, while 40% of Swiss investors aged over 40 have a negative view. 

Across Europe, 34% of investors from all age groups are pessimistic about the next 12 months; globally this figure is 22%. The main reason cited by Swiss investors for their comparatively sceptical outlook is the unstable global economy. By contrast, they view the Swiss economy in an extremely positive light. 

“What is new is that Swiss investors see the best opportunities in foreign equities over the next 12 months.” Zeitler said. “This is undoubtedly a result of the strong Swiss franc and its impact on the Swiss economy.” 

Locational advantage 

Among Swiss investors, 55% of women and 72% of men believe that conditions in the Swiss market offer a locational advantage when it comes to their investments. 

Of the Swiss 18- to 39-year-olds surveyed, 18% of their assets are invested outside Switzerland. The younger investors see the best investment opportunities in China (45%) and Japan (34%), followed closely by Singapore (32%). Older investors prefer the US (48%), ahead of China (40%) and Singapore (33%). and agencies

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