Manulife Investor Sentiment Index reveals priorities for 2013
-- Nearly eight in ten Canadians are confident about achieving
-- Investor confidence softens slightly
-- Debt reduction is top finance-related New Year's resolution for
-- Key regional findings included
WATERLOO, ON, Jan. 17, 2013 /CNW/ - As we begin a new year, results from the
latest Manulife Financial Investor Sentiment Index released today indicate
that, while Canadian investors appear to have ongoing concerns about the
economic environment, they are taking deliberate steps to achieve their
financial goals and they remain optimistic about their future financial
"The good news is that Canadians remain optimistic about their financial
future and they are taking some very simple, but concrete steps to continue
making progress on their financial goals," said Paul Lorentz, Executive
Vice-President, Investment and Insurance Solutions. "Canadians continue to be
cautious about investing and with global economic challenges continuing to
dominate our headlines, this is a trend we've been seeing for several
Overall, the Manulife Financial Investor Sentiment Index, which measures
Canadians' perceptions about whether or not this is a good time to invest in a
variety of savings and investment vehicles, showed that investor sentiment in
Canada softened slightly through the second half of 2012. Results from the
second half of the year show the Index now sitting at +20, down four points
from July 2012 (+24) and down six points from December 2011 (+26).
"Canadians are now more focused on paying down debt which may be causing them
to be more cautious about investing," added Mr. Lorentz. "The slight decline
returns the Index to the December 2010 level, however it is positive to see
that investor sentiment continues to remain significantly stronger than during
the height of the economic downturn in 2008-2009."
Canadians optimistic about the future
Interest in investment and savings vehicles remains flat indicating a
continued cautious outlook toward investing, however, Canadians say they are
optimistic about their financial future. Currently almost eight in ten
Canadians feel their financial position is either the same (43 per cent) or
better (35 per cent) than it was two years ago. Optimism for the future is
higher with more than 90 per cent of Canadians indicating that two years from
now their financial position will be either the same (39 per cent) or better
(53 per cent) than today.
Consistent with this optimistic view, 77 per cent of Canadians say they are
either on track when it comes to their current financial goals (40 per cent),
or they are behind but are likely to catch up (37 per cent).
Taking a conservative approach
The index reveals that, overall, Canadians are heeding the advice of the
Minister of Finance and the Governor of the Bank of Canada to reduce consumer
debt and they are taking a more conservative approach to help achieve their
financial goals. Nearly 50 per cent of Canadians indicate they have taken
steps to reduce their spending, with 31 per cent saying they are saving money
on a regular basis.
Other ways that Canadians are taking greater control of their personal
finances include: talking to a professional financial advisor for advice (22
per cent), working more or increasing their income (19 per cent), calculating
how much they need to achieve their financial goal (17 per cent), and saving
'found' money like bonuses and tax refunds (14 per cent).
"It appears that Canadians are taking to heart the importance of having a
balanced financial plan in place that includes a healthy focus on debt
reduction and saving," added Mr. Lorentz. "Trimming household budgets, paying
down debt and saving for a rainy day are all important steps that will put
Canadians in a better financial situation for their future."
Top Financial New Year's Resolution for 2013, by a huge margin
Nearly four in ten Canadians say "trimming the household budget" is their top
2013 financial New Year's resolution. Next on the list were "creating a will
or estate plan" and "creating an emergency fund," both garnering 13 percent of
Canadians say their top financial priority for 2013 is paying down debt or
maintaining their current lifestyle. Paying down debt is the top financial
priority for 31 per cent of respondents. Twenty-two per cent indicate that
maintaining their current lifestyle is their financial priority for the year.
Key Regional Findings from the Manulife Financial Investor Sentiment Index:
-- Quebec residents (44%) are more likely to feel that they are
'on track' when it comes to their current financial goals,
compared to BC (35%) and Ontario (38%).
-- Ontario residents (33 %) are more likely to select "pay down
debt" as their top financial goal compared to Quebec (28%).
-- Atlantic residents (16%) are more likely to select 'creating an
emergency fund' as their New Year's resolution compared to all
regions of the country except for BC and Alberta.
-- Residents of Manitoba and Saskatchewan are more likely to agree
that it is a good time to invest in stocks compared to the rest
of Canada except for BC and Alberta. They are also more likely
to agree, along with Ontarians, that it is a good time to
invest in Mutual Funds compared to BC and Quebec.
-- Quebec residents are least likely to say it is a good time to
invest in their home.
-- Residents of Alberta and the Atlantic region are more likely to
agree it is a good time to invest in property compared to BC,
Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Quebec.
-- Atlantic Canadians and Albertans are more likely to agree it is
a good time to invest in cash compared to all other provinces.
-- Residents from Alberta are more likely to agree it is a good
time to invest in TFSA's compared to Ontario, Quebec and the
-- Residents from BC and Quebec are less likely to agree it is a
good time to invest in RRSP's compared to the rest of Canada.
About the Manulife Financial Investor Sentiment Index
The Manulife Financial Investor Sentiment Index is a semi-annual measure of
investors' views on a range of asset classes and savings and investment
vehicles, as well as their confidence in these areas.The index is based on
an online survey of 2,126 Canadians aged 25+ that was conducted between
November 30 and December 11, 2012 by Research House, an Environics Company.
The data was weighted according to the 2011 Canadian Census. A national
probability sample of this size would have a margin of error of +/-2.1%, 19
times out of 20.
In 2012, some changes were made to the survey timing and methodology. The
survey moved from a quarterly survey to a semi-annual survey. The survey
methodology was changed to an online panel; prior surveys were conducted by
telephone. Additionally, the survey's sample size was increased from 1,000
participants to 2,126 in order to determine if any regional differences
existed. The sample for the December 2012 survey included Canadians aged 25+;
prior survey results were based on a sample of Canadians aged 18+.Historical
comparison may be influenced by these changes.
About Manulife Financial
Manulife Financial is a leading Canada-based financial services group with
principal operations in Asia, Canada and the United States. Clients look to
Manulife for strong, reliable, trustworthy and forward-thinking solutions for
their most significant financial decisions.
Our international network of employees, agents and distribution partners
offers financial protection and wealth management products and services to
millions of clients. We also provide asset management services to
institutional customers. Funds under management by Manulife Financial and its
subsidiaries were C$515 billion (US$523 billion) as at September 30, 2012. The
Company operates as Manulife Financial in Canada and Asia and primarily as
John Hancock in the United States.
Manulife Financial Corporation trades as 'MFC' on the TSX, NYSE and PSE, and
under '945' on the SEHK. Manulife Financial can be found on the Internet at
Media contact: Jana Miller Director, Public Relations 519.594.4597
Image with caption: "Canadian investors optimistic about the future (CNW
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SOURCE: Manulife Financial Corporation
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-0- Jan/17/2013 15:00 GMT
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