High-net-worth Atlantans picked Japan as the top investment prospect overseas in a Morgan Stanley “investor pulse poll” released on Jan. 26.
Ronald C. Hart, financial adviser in the Atlanta office of the Global Wealth Management Division of the financial services firm, told Global Atlanta that the Japanese government’s policies of monetary and fiscal easing along with structural reforms held positive implications for the future, especially when oil prices are low.
“Japan doesn’t produce oil so it’s economy is going to benefit from today’s low prices,” he said while the economies of oil producers like Venezuela or Nigeria will probably suffer.”
The poll is based on the views of 303 respondents to telephone calls conducted last year from Oct. 14-Dec. 2 by GfK Public Affairs & Corporate Communications, a division of GfK that specializes in customized public affairs and public opinion polling, media and corporate communications research, and corporate reputation measurement in the U.S and globally.
The respondents were between the ages of 25 and 75 years old and had to be one of the primary decision makers in the household for financial matters. They were divided into three groups: $100,000 to $499,000; $500,000 to $999,000 and $1 million or more in investable assets.
While 76 percent of the respondents rated the investment outlook for the United States as “good,” 40 percent considered the prospects for Japan as good; 35 percent for India; 32 percent for Western Europe; 31 percent for China; 30 percent for Brazil and 22 percent for other Asian countries.
The good ratings for South America registered at 14 percent; for Eastern European countries excluding Russia and the Ukraine, 11 percent; the Middle East, 5 percent, Russia, 3 percent and the Ukraine, 2 percent.
“Nearly one half of the profits of Standard & Poor’s Index 500 companies come from abroad,” he said. “U.S. companies are heavily invested in the international economy.”
Most of the respondents, he added, would participate in global investments either through mutual funds or exchange-traded funds and rely on managers “who know what things are going well.”
Not surprisingly, respondents consider Russia, Ukraine and the Middle East as riskier locations for investments because of the violence and political news they hear about, Mr. Hart said. But the best investment returns can come from unlikely places.
The global investment managers know “all about risks, repatriations and infusions,” he said. “They play it pretty well.”
As an example of a startling investment, he pointed to the Coca-Cola Co.’s investment in the Gaza Strip.
“You really never know,” he said. “Thirty eight or 39 economists said that rates were about to rise,” he added, citing the Federal Reserve’s current delay in doing so.
Emerging markets are suffering today because of the slowdown in China’s growth, he also said. But he added that Morgan Stanley’s emerging markets experts consider India, China, Taiwan, Korea and Malaysia as good bets for improved returns.