Summit News

SocGen arm says clients still shun equities

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Millionaires globally are still avoiding equities as well as hedge funds and prefer bonds even though equities markets have rallied and in some cases are above pre-crisis highs, according to Societe Generale SOGN.PA.

Edouard Camblain, global head of equities research at Societe Generale’s private banking arm, said on Tuesday nearly 16 percent of the 82 billion euros ($112.1 billion) that the unit manages globally is placed in equities.

Historically, the bank’s clients place between 15-20 percent of their assets in equities, Camblain told the Reuters Global Private Banking Summit.

Tan Sing Hwee, the Singapore-based Chief Investment Officer for the Asian unit of the private bank, said clients, especially in Asia, prefer to invest in fixed income products since the market downturn two years ago and cash holdings are still higher than the pre-crisis level.

“The stock market has gone up quite a lot, but it appears that the high-networth individuals were not the main participants in the whole market run-up -- it was more the men on the street and some institutional investors,” Tan said.

“The area where they have been really keen on is in the fixed income area,” she added.

Asian equities have rallied strongly since 2009 and some have reached new peaks.

Indonesia's composite index .JKSE is at an all-time high with gains of more than 40 percent this year alone after a nearly 90 percent jump last year, while Thai's benchmark index .SETI hit a 14-year this month.

The private banking arm has a “neutral” call on equities globally but has some “outperform” recommendations in consumer staples, information technology and energy sectors.

It also advises clients to play the Asian consumer theme and invest in stocks such as Tencent Holdings 0700.HK, China Life 601628.SS and Singapore Press Holdings SPRM.SI.

($1=.7313 Euro)

Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman