The findings come from Skandia International’s quarterly adviser confidence barometer, which measures confidence levels among advisers based across Europe, the United Arab Emirates and in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Skandia said advisers in Singapore were the only group to report a decrease in confidence towards the global economy, with a confidence score of just 5.7 out of ten, down from six in the last quarter of 2012.
Overall, advisers reported an average confidence level of six during Q1 2013, up from 5.7 in the previous quarter, with those in the UAE the most confidence giving an average score of 7.1.
Interestingly, advisers in Singapore have remained optimistic about their local economy, with advisers giving it an average confidence level of 7.2 – this compares favourably with a global average of 5.9.
The European debt crisis was seen by nearly half (47%) of all advisers as the greatest threat to the global economy, although those in Asia said their biggest concern was inflation.
David Bellingham, chief executive of Singapore based Professional Investment Advisory Services, said the reason advisers in Singapore have lost confidence in the global economy could be attributable to two factors.
“First, that the Singapore market is more strongly correlated with international markets than other economies. As such, as other markets struggle, Singapore experiences the impacts through trade; or second, that it is a cumulative effect of the mixed economic news globally, and the local regulatory proposals for change generally weighing down the Singapore adviser, reducing their confidence.”
Indeed, regulation was cited by respondents as the biggest challenge facing advisers, with a total of 35% of the vote. Low consumer confidence and the cost of running a business were also picked out as challenges, although market volatility was chosen by those in Singapore as the biggest facing the adviser industry.
Craig Ellis, head of region and principal officer for Singapore and South East Asia at Skandia said: “Despite the improvement in the global economic markets, concerns over ongoing volatility and the fear of global contagion are clearly impacting upon financial advisers in Singapore.
“Additional domestic issues such as the rising level of inflation and the impact of the new regulatory (FAIR) implementation are also creating challenges for advisers, who are uncertain of the longer term impacts this will have on their own region.”