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High net worth Asian investors turn away from property, domestic stocks, survey finds

Asia's high net worth individuals (HNWI) are moving away from their long-held focus on property, and dumping local stocks for foreign ones, a new survey found.

Property dropped to a share of 32.2 percent of Asian HNWIs' portfolios, from 40 percent three years ago, the most recent East & Partners Asia survey found.

Property has typically been a huge portion of many Asian investors' portfolios.

A HSBC report in 2014 found that nearly 40 percent of affluent Asians owned an overseas investment property, while a CBRE report in 2015 found Chinese outbound real estate investment underwent explosive growth over the previous two years, rising above $10 billion in total commercial property transactions in 2014, from $2 billion in 2009.

The shift away from property by Asian HNWIs was accompanied by an uptick in allocations to alternative assets, the survey, conducted in May, found. Their alternatives allocation rose to 15.1 percent of total portfolios on average, from 8 percent three years ago.

"East sees this shift continuing over the medium term, with investors forecast to further increase their holdings to 15.8 percent in the coming year," a report accompanying the survey said.

Asia's HNWIs also looked further afield in their investments, lowering their allocations to domestic equities and shifting those funds to international equities, the survey found.

At the same time, HNWIs were trusting their own judgement less, shifting away from managing their own wealth and toward seeking advice from private bankers and financial advisors, the survey found.

Nearly 70 percent of Asian HNWIs were managing their own wealth three years ago, but that had slipped to less than half in the most recent results, the survey found.

The proportion of HNWIs using a financial advisor rose to 10.6 percent by May, up from 3.8 percent three years ago, the survey found. The percentage of Asian HNWIs using a private banker also nearly tripled over the period, the survey said.

East & Partners Asia is a specialist market research firm covering debt, treasury and banking services.

The East & Partners Asia survey interviewed an executive from each of the top 100 corporates in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, India, Thailand and South Korea. The survey noted that the respondents were considered to be engaged in wealth creation and the average age was 46.


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—By CNBC.Com's Leslie Shaffer; Follow her on Twitter @LeslieShaffer1