Pohjola Pankki Oyj: OP-Pohjola's Consumer Barometer: Finns do not recognise their opportunities for wealth accumulation

 Pohjola Pankki Oyj: OP-Pohjola's Consumer Barometer: Finns do not recognise
                 their opportunities for wealth accumulation

According to the recent OP-Pohjola Consumer Barometer, over half of the
respondents feel that increasing wealth is either fairly difficult or very
difficult, while only 11% of the respondents think that increasing wealth is
very or fairly easy. The survey conducted in August-September had over 3,000
respondents.

The following statements were at the top when respondents described the
reasons why increasing wealth is difficult:
- A large portion of my income goes to housing and other regular expenses
- Basically, I have no assets (nest egg) that I could increase
- I do not know about investment products well enough.

- This is an interesting result. People can begin to save money in very small
amounts. Having the skills or the level of returns is not so essential at the
outset. You can seek returns by increasing risk later when you are more
knowledgeable and experienced, says Maarit Lindström, an OP-Pohjola Group
economist specialising in consumer economics.

- People think it is difficult to increase wealth, although they have now
better asset-management opportunities than ever before. This actually poses a
challenge for us as a bank to design sufficiently well-defined investment
products for customers at the beginning of their career as investors and to
create an appealing and encouraging learning path for the years to come. On
the basis of the survey results, young people are more fussed about the
difficulty of investment than other people, continues Lindström.

Everyday luxury replaces major purchases

The survey showed that Finns feel that their personal financial standing is
weaker than last year, on average. This is reflected in the respondents'
weaker willingness for home improvement and lower intentions of buying a car
or expensive household appliances. The respondents' intention of buying a home
has remained somewhat unchanged but they are, however, less confident about
finding a suitable home at a suitable price. In addition, around a third
feels that the prevailing uncertainty in the world economy and the Finnish
economy has also affected personal finances.

- Many indicators have shown weaker sentiments. But then again, people are
planning to travel abroad in the near future to the same extent as before.
People are not ready to reduce travelling although destinations and the travel
budget may change according to their financial standing, says Lindström.

The importance of travelling in people's minds suggests that Finns are now
willing to substitute major purchases for everyday luxury.
The respondents had the chance of describing in open-ended questions what
everyday luxury is. In addition to travelling, good food and drink, books,
hobbies, friends, physical exercise and peaceful leisure time were highlighted
in the responses.

Caution on housing markets

A somewhat pessimistic economic outlook is repeated in responses to question
"Do you think it is a good or bad time now to buy a home or sell your present
home to buy a new one?" A total of 31% of the respondents think that the time
is bad and only 13% think the time is good as against 26% and 21% a year ago.
The situation has worsened in recent years. According to Lindström, the period
of weaker economic development that originated from the financial crisis has
affected home sales with a time lag.

- However, uncertainty felt in the housing market has again highlighted the
importance of real property business professionals compared with the situation
earlier. During the current year, 65% of home sellers would in the first place
like to use an estate agent and 23% would like to sell their home by
themselves, explains Lindström. Reliability, transparency and a good and
realistic price estimate, in other words expert service on which you can
count, are the most important criteria in selecting an estate agent. Low
realtor commissions come after these criteria.

The Consumer Barometer was aimed at analysing choices related to personal
financial management among Finns and using the received information for the
development of OP-Pohjola's services. The last year's barometer showed
consumers' greater willingness to purchase buy-to-let homes and need to be
financially better prepared for personal injuries. Of the new products and
product rejuvenations launched this year, the OP-Rental Yield non-UCITS fund
and improvements in personal insurance are specifically aimed at meeting these
needs.

OP-Pohjola's Consumer Barometer provides information on values, attitudes,
problems and successes associated with financial decisions made by households.
Carried out as an online survey in the TNS Gallup Forum panel between 7 August
and 4 September 2013, the survey had a total of 3,033 private individuals at
the age of 18-69 as respondents. 

For more information, please contact: 
Maarit Lindström, Vice President, Economist, tel. +358 (0)10 252 1695

The research results will be discussed more in the OP-Pohjola Nyt video on 7
October 2013, starting at approximately 2.00 pm at op.fi > OP-Pohjola-ryhmä >
Uutishuone

OP-Pohjola Group is Finland's leading financial services group providing a
unique range of banking, investment and insurance services. The Group's
mission is to promote the sustainable prosperity, well-being and security of
its owner-members, customers and operating regions through its local presence.
Its objective is to offer the best and most versatile package of loyal
customer benefits on the market. OP-Pohjola Group consists of some 200 member
cooperative banks and the Group's central institution, OP-Pohjola Group
Central Cooperative, with its subsidiaries and closely-related companies, the
largest of which is the listed company Pohjola Bank plc.

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Source: Pohjola Pankki Oyj via Thomson Reuters ONE
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