Standard Chartered has released a wealth expectancy report 2022 which examines the shifts in investor decisions for more than 15,000 emerging affluent, affluent, and high net worth investors in 14 markets including Kenya.
The survey results indicate that 78% of local investors are more actively managing their wealth and making changes to their investment strategies, given current economic challenges.
Kenyan investors have cited inflation (50%), an uncertain global economy (33%) and the threat of recession (15%) as their top concerns. Rising inflation (34%), a recession (27%) and uncertain global economy (22%) are key worries for investors internationally too.
In the past year, local investors have made changes to their finances, such as spending less (47%) and making new decisions around their portfolios (31%), which will prompt shifts in major asset classes.
To outpace inflation, 61% of global investors are looking to reduce their cash holdings, compared to 67% in Kenya. Standard Chartered predicts that global cash allocations will fall from 26% in 2022 to 15% in 2023, indicated by investor responses.
Investors are reconsidering their holdings of equities as market volatility increases, although this asset class will remain an integral part of portfolios. Of those currently invested in equities, there is an indication that the allocation of equities in Kenyan portfolios to fall from 6.9% to 5.9% in the next year based on survey responses.
This year, gold continues to be of high interest for Kenyan investors, with 43% saying they have invested as a result of inflation, in addition to combat inflation in 2022 there is, interest in value stocks at 46% and bonds at 46%.
Sustainable investments will continue to receive investor interest and capital, even though greenwashing concerns persist. More than half of global investors (52%) expect to increase their sustainable investments in 2023. 57% of investors in Kenya will also do so.
The research reveals that 75% of local investors still believe that digital assets are an important part of any investment portfolio, despite multiple setbacks this year.
Currently, 66% of global investors hold digital assets, compared to 73% in Kenya. Looking ahead, 74% of local investors surveyed plan to increase their investments in digital assets in the coming year. This is in part because many said that they consider them to be a good way to diversify their portfolios (42%) and others said that they have seen people make significant returns off digital assets (36%).
However, it is important to note this survey was conducted before the FTX crash and the events of the past few weeks may dampen this sentiment.
While most global investors polled (62%) were primarily managing their own finances, with some variation across markets. Many investors in Kenya (35%) use professional wealth managers. On average, across the 14 markets, younger (18-35) investors (63%) are more likely to use a professional compared with 39% in the 55+ bracket. On average, investors taking advantage of professional advice were more likely to have diversified portfolios and higher holdings in sustainable investments.
Paul Njoki, Head of Affluent Banking and Wealth Management in Kenya & East Africa said: “Investors face a complex reality, with inflation, the threat of recession and an uncertain global economy ranking as their top concerns. Our research reveals that they are making changes to their portfolio allocations in response to these challenges, but it is important that they make decisions aligned with their objectives and the external environment. We believe that diversified portfolios with multi-asset income generation strategies provide some of the best opportunities today. This combined with personalized advice can help investors ride out the current market conditions and achieve their long-term goals.”