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Bank Austria Investment Barometer on World Savings Day:
Austria's financial institutions can expect 1.5 million Austrians

  • The day after tomorrow one Austrian in every five will go to the bank
  • Personal pension provision remains primary motive for saving
  • Investor interest in classic savings products growing; securities losing ground
  • Austrians investing more than ever before

This year Austrian financial institutions can once again look forward to a veritable tidal wave of customers. Some 1.5 million savers, or one Austrian in every five, will go to the bank this coming World Savings Day. That's the result of an up-to-date Bank Austria Investment Barometer, a representative survey by market research institute GfK Austria on behalf of Bank Austria. "The international concept of World Savings Day continues to meet with widespread acceptance in Austria. Whilst "big fish" obtain information about product innovations and the current state of their investments, "small fry" are pleased with World Savings Day "gifts"," says Werner Kretschmer, Bank Austria's director for Private Banking & Asset Management.

When asked about their reasons for visiting branches in person, 30 percent of those surveyed mention the gifts. 28 percent are accompanying their children and grandchildren. Because of the nice tradition, 22 percent call into their banks on World Savings Day. Almost one in eight stated that they wanted to use World Savings Day to speak with their banking adviser in person. 17 percent intend to bring their savings to the bank on Savings Day. Overall, Mr and Mrs Austria regard World Savings Day 2008 as a good opportunity to make contact with the bank and perceive it to be a thank-you from the financial institutions.

Of the reasons for saving and investing, 61 percent of those surveyed continued to rank personal pension provision highest, followed by 57 percent stating "money for a rainy day" and 53 percent security for the children as a reason. Renovating and refurbishing homes ranked equally at 45 percent. Holidays and buying a car were also occurred with equal frequency, at 41 percent.

Investor interest in safe havens has risen, securities are losing ground
When asked for their preference in savings and investment products, 78 percent name one of the classic savings products, such as savings book or building society savings. In the second quarter of this year the level was still around 71 percent. Compared to the second quarter of this year, the percentage for real estate and property remained almost the same (37 percent). Interest in government-backed provision for the future has risen slightly (33 percent) and in classic life assurance (30 percent). Interest in securities has fallen further. "The current environment is without doubt contributing to the average Austrian currently approaching securities with caution and considering investment to be unfavourable," says Kretschmer. Interest in gold, silver, objects of value and antiquities has more than doubled since the second quarter of this year.

Just two-thirds of Austrians are convinced that they are able to save less today than they could three years ago. Above all the over-50s and those with an average standard of education are of the opinion that they are able to save less nowadays. Only 35 percent of those surveyed are of the opinion that they are currently saving more, or at least as much as they were three years ago. The prospect for future savings is a little less gloomy than a few months ago. A little over half of Austrians (52 percent) feel that in three years' time they will be able to save more or at least the same. The proportion of those who believe they will be able to save less in three years' time, however, remains at a high level of 43 percent.

2008 investment record: historic high of 200 euros per month
Despite Austrians' subjective opinion that they are able to save less, the current economic uncertainty actually appears to be leading to record savings. According to projections by Bank Austria Group Macroeconomics, new investment in cash assets of 200 euros per Austrian per month in 2008 will reach a new record level. This corresponds to around 11.9 percent of average monthly net income. Last year new investment was 191 euros per month. "Austrians will invest the majority of new cash assets in savings deposits in 2008," according to Bank Austria's deputy chief economist Stefan Bruckbauer. Life assurance and bonds will come second ex aequo, whilst investment in shares and investment certificates is in decline.

Enquiries: Bank Austria Press Office Austria
Alexander Tröbinger, Tel. +43 (0) 50505 - 52809
E-mail: alexander.troebinger@unicreditgroup.at 

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