Swiss Investors are Emigrating to Retire

Swiss Investors are Emigrating to Retire by Etienne Kiss-Borlase

Legg Mason, a US investment management firm, recently conducted an international survey asking 5,370 major investors across 19 countries what their views about the financial markets are right now. A standout statistic from this survey claimed that one in three Swiss investors are now intending to emigrate in order to retire if they do not meet their savings goals. Other European countries were not so keen to up and move for their golden years.

High Savings Requirements

Part of these openness to moving may be due to the high standards to Swiss hold when it comes to how much they must have in the bank to retire comfortably in Switzerland. It was discovered that Swiss investors believe they need at least CHF500,000 ($505,000) per person to retire in their home country. Investors in other European countries were found to have considerably lower savings requirements, with the European average being around CHF300,000.

While 35% of those surveyed in Switzerland said they would emigrate to a country with a lower cost of living if they failed to achieve their savings goals, in Britain and Germany only 8% and 7% respectively considered this a viable option.

In addition to inflated savings requirements, the survey also found that the Swiss tend to look at their investments more long-term than most. In fact, the authors found that 72% of Swiss investors take a long-term view in their investments, compared with the European average of 61%. Italy was the only country where the majority (56%) of investors were found to pursue short-term investment goals, with the aim of making their day-to-day life more comfortable.

Christian Zeitler, country head of Legg Mason in Switzerland, further detailed their findings about Swiss investors as such: “Unsurprisingly, cash and concrete (i.e. property) seem to be very popular among Swiss investors. Also, Swiss investors seem to be quite comfortable with their understanding of financial products. As a result only around a third uses a financial advisor.”

Changing Attitudes

Surveyors also found that 60% of people 18 – 39 year old and 63% of 40+ say they are now more risk averse than they were a year ago.

As the global political and financial landscape becomes increasingly volatile, investors of all ages are becoming noticeably more pessimistic. 45% of younger investors and 40% of Swiss investors over 40 reported negative expectations regarding the economic outlook for the coming year.

Across Europe, 34% of investors from all age groups are feeling pessimistic about the next 12 months, and globally that figure is 22%.

Swiss Positivity

One differentiator of the Swiss though is that they actually view their own economy in an extremely positive light. Their main fears are not from home, but due to the unstable global economy at large.

“What is new is that Swiss investors see the best opportunities in foreign equities over the next 12 months,” Zeitler further explained. “This is undoubtedly a result of the strong Swiss franc and its impact on the Swiss economy.”

Swiss 18 – 39 year-olds reported having only 18% of their assets invested outside Switzerland.

Among Swiss investors, 55% of women and 72% of men reported believing that conditions in the Swiss market offer a locational advantage when it comes to their investments.

While younger investors reported believing their best investment opportunities were in China (45%) and Japan (34%), followed closely by Singapore (32%), older investors preferred the US (48%), ahead of China (40%) and Singapore (33%).