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J&T BANKA WEALTH REPORT: Survey of Czech and Slovak Dollar Millionaires

3. June 2015

Welcome to the world of the most affluent and the most sophisticated: to the world of Czech and Slovak dollar millionaires. For the fifth year in a row, J&T BANKA, the private bank of the most successful, is providing a view into the investment thinking and behaviour of this group. Become acquainted with the conclusions the one-of-a-kind Wealth Report and find out how the wealthiest live, where they see the greatest threats in today’s society and where they invest.

Who are dollar millionaires?

Czech and Slovak dollar millionaires are university graduates (80% in the CR, 89% in the SR) who are just over fifty years old (52 is the average age of respondents in the CR and 50 in the SR). In the Czech Republic, the world of dollar millionaires is the world of older men. A full third of Czech millionaires are aged 40–49 (30%) and another good third is 50–59 (32%). Conversely, a fifth of millionaires in Slovakia are aged 30–39. Among millionaires, women are scare. Dollar millionaires are most often business owners (57% in the CR, 58% in the SR), followed by employees (10% in the CR, 9% in the SR) and self-employed individuals (10% in the CR, 3% in the SR).

In the world of investment

Dollar millionaires are most often “cautious” investors who tend to choose safe investments in particular. This stance is due mainly in part to their stage in life and to concerns about unstable political and economic situations, the crisis in Ukraine being an example. Despite a certain degree of conservatism, the behaviour of dollar millionaires is showing a growing appetite for investment, which is driven mainly by an upswing in certain segments. However, their investment portfolios, which they usually manage themselves (56% in the CR, 48% in the SR), observe the established rule: only 1/3 of assets should be in high risk instruments. Only 8% of Czech and 10% of Slovak dollar millionaires are devoted full time to asset management. One third of dollar millionaires manage their assets on a daily basis; most often they manage their assets sporadically (54% in the CR, 46% in the SR).

Appreciation expectations

The continued efforts of central banks to reduce interest rates is forcing investors to find more interesting ways to increase the value of their available funds than through other deposit products. Both Czech and Slovak dollar millionaires see investments in the shares of foreign companies (25% in the CR, 31% in the SR), company acquisitions (26% in the CR and 25% in the SR) and start-ups (23% in the CR, 25% in the SR) as attractive. Conservative instruments and value holders – such as agricultural land (34% in the CR, 15% in the SR), building land (26% in the CR, 11% in the SR) and residential real estate (22% in the CR, 8% in the SR) – fare significantly better in the Czech Republic than in the Slovak Republic, likely due to the recovery of the Czech real estate market, especially in the case of residential real estate. Investing in agricultural land is experiencing a boom: the recent establishment of numerous land funds is proof of this and is becoming a trend. Compared to the rest of the world, land in the Czech Republic continues to be very cheap; thus expectations of a price correction and equalisation are thus logical.

Investments made by Czech and Slovak dollar millionaires in company acquisitions have experienced a palpable decline (2015: 26%, 2014: 41%). This drop can be explained by the fact that last year’s boom and growth trend pushed the value of companies to a maximum, so now it is more difficult to find the right opportunities. Conversely, Czech and Slovak dollar millionaires are showing greater interest in alternative investments (2015: 17%, 2014: 12%) or currency transactions (2015: 12%, 2014: 6%).

Investment portfolio

A dollar millionaire’s investment portfolio chiefly contains investments that can be expected to provide the best appreciation. The sole exception is term deposits, which only 1% of Czech dollar millionaires consider attractive in terms of yield, but which comprise almost half of their portfolios (45% in the CR, 55% in the SR). Ownership in companies or shares in them are high on the list; dollar millionaires therefore invest more in their own companies than in other investment instruments. The biggest difference between Czechs and Slovaks can most clearly be seen in the case of Czech and Slovak company shares, which most often appear in the portfolios of Czech dollar millionaires (35% in the CR, 11% in the SR); this situation is chiefly a reflection of the poor operation of the Bratislava stock exchange. Conversely, 1/3 of Slovak millionaires invest in gold.

An interesting fact from the point of view of risk is that dollar millionaires consider agricultural land, building land and residential real estate to be comparable to term deposits.

Investment environment at home and in the EU

The growing investment appetite of dollar millionaires is a testament to the recovery and the creation of new investment opportunities. For the first time in three years, both Czech and Slovak dollar millionaires consider the current economic situation to be more of an opportunity than a threat to their investments.

From the investment perspective, the European Union is a place that they can, despite problems, find attractive investment opportunities (42% in the CR, 52% in the SR). In terms of investment opportunities in the EU, Czech are slightly more sceptical: close to a fifth of dollar millionaires anticipate, despite the improving economic situation, very slow growth, which makes investments in the EU less attractive compared with the world; indeed, 4% of Czechs and 5% of Slovak millionaires consider assets in the EU to be predatory and unattractive in terms of the yield to risk ratio. 18% of Czech and 11% Slovak dollar millionaires see investments in the EU to be unattractive due to the slow economic growth, excessive regulation and bureaucracy. Very few believe that fast growth can be expected in the EU any time soon.

ABOUT J&T BANKA WEALTH REPORT 2015:

The survey, which took place between February and March 2015, was conducted by J&T Banka in cooperation with Perfect Crowd. The objective of the survey was to map the investment behaviour and lifestyle of dollar millionaires, i.e., individuals whose available funds are worth at least USD 1 million (CZK 24.5 million or EUR 900 000). A total of 301 respondents from the ranks of dollar millionaires (193 Czechs and 108 Slovaks) took part in the survey. The data was collected through an on-line questionnaire. In-depth interviews with six respondents and discussions with the private bankers of J&T Banka supplemented the qualitative view.