Most Asian-Americans invest in real estate, cash deposits: Survey

By siliconindia   |   Wednesday, 18 June 2003, 07:00 Hrs
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NEW YORK: Wealthy Asian-Americans increased their investments in real estate (33%) and cash deposits (24%) last year, according to the 2003 World Wealth Report just published by Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Merrill Lynch. The benchmark report also found almost a quarter (24%) of high net worth Asian-Americans increased their holdings in stocks and mutual funds despite the volatile markets. High net worth individuals (HNWIs) are people with financial assets of US$1million, excluding real estate. "For wealthy South Asian-American investors, wealth preservation and family wealth growth are key financial goals," said Jyoti Chopra, director of South Asian business at Merrill Lynch's multicultural and diversified business development group. "However, only a quarter (24%) of Asian-American high net worth individuals have a financial plan, while 52% use a financial advisor. Almost half of Asian-Americans (45%) do not have an estate plan, despite their focus on their family." In today's volatile financial markets, this can make it very difficult to preserve, let alone grow, wealth. Other studies by Merrill Lynch show that the non-resident Indian community is highly conservative when it comes to business and finance, with a strong propensity towards saving. "Education and saving for future education needs, for the next generation, continues to be a high priority," said Chopra. "Retirement saving and planning is also very important." It is estimated that as much as 90% of Indian business is family owned, making for complex inheritance planning. There are an estimated 20 million people of Indian origin currently residing outside India, with the largest populations in Myanmar, the United States, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. In the U.S., South Asians are the sixth largest foreign population, with more than 1.8 million people of Indian origin. This is the fastest growing foreign population in the country, with the number of people of Indian origin surging 105.9% between 1990 and 2000, according to the 2000 U.S. census report.