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Where is the best place to grow one's wealth?

We ask investment professionals for their take on the road ahead.

"Retirement planning is not about how much you have earned but how much you have saved."

Leslie Wee, Head of Bancassurance, Standard Chartered Bank

"With global growth slow and fragile, we expect investors to value income over capital gains in a zero or negative interest rate environment. Earning a return means taking some risk - and we like both selected Asian and US credit market sectors, after the recent setbacks, and lower volatility sustainable higher yielding European equities, including the oil majors."

Neil Dwane, Global Strategist, Allianz Global Investors

"Uncertainties abound and volatility remains. Look out for permanent drivers of economic and consumer behaviour. Companies that focus their business strategies on non-cyclical phenomenon such as demographic changes will be attractive propositions."

Jenny Sofian, CEO, Head of South Asia, Amundi Singapore

"The start of 2016 has been challenging in the global economic landscape. With expected prolonged market volatility, investors may want to take a more prudent approach by diversifying their portfolios with lower risk vehicles, such as endowment plans with guaranteed returns, annuities and universal life plans. One may also consider further diversifying by holding other currencies instead of just Singapore dollars only. With the anticipation of a rise in the US interest rate, which may result in the strengthening of the US dollar, investors may like to also consider increasing their exposure to US dollar-denominated holdings."

Tony Chow, Assistant General Manager, China Life Insurance Singapore

"The best quality Asian stocks are now very attractively valued. Taking a long-term view, this is where I would focus in 2016."

Peter Sartori, Head of Asian Equity, Nikko Asset Management

"This year feels different from last year because tail risks are increasing in significance at a time when global growth worries, central bank efficacy and a longer than expected market correction have forced investors into a few familiar trades, such as long US dollars and short oil. As a result, new investing opportunities seemed more difficult to come by, at least from the perspective of broad asset classes. This is why money managers are cutting their risky bets and increasing their cash positions. Fund managers have increased their average cash holdings to the highest level in 14 years, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey, as they are fearful of the possibility of a US recession."

Bernard Aw, Market Strategist, IG Asia

"With markets likely to remain volatile for some time, the time is ripe to invest in hedge strategies. A multi-manager, multi-strategy approach works better than a single-manager, single-strategy approach."

David Saunders, Founding Managing Director, K2 Advisors, Franklin Templeton Investments

"Investors should remain invested in a broad and diversified manner amidst the challenging market environment. Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) invest in a basket of securities, and investors can effectively reduce their risk by diversifying their portfolio into different stocks. On balance, we favour that investors remain defensively positioned, with higher than normal allocations to cash. We believe that the US dollar will continue its 16-month rise versus world currencies, but at a slower pace. Given accommodative monetary policies abroad, US dollar strength will likely continue even if the Federal Reserve does nothing. Over the long run, holding 2-10 per cent of a portfolio in gold can improve portfolio performance - according to research from the World Gold Council - and investors should consider a long-term strategic allocation in this range."

Sunny Leung, ETF Business Development Manager, Asia ex-Japan at State Street Global Advisors

"Global markets have had a volatile start to 2016 but we still continue to see opportunities for investors and in particular, we believe European stocks can maintain their upward trajectory. Firstly, the European Central Bank's quantitative easing programme has meant that stock prices are playing catch-up with other markets. In addition, European banks that were previously cash-rich are now starting to deploy it - which should benefit companies and overall economies in the region. On the fixed income side, we are positive on the outlook for corporate bonds. Interest rate spreads have spiked, with the energy sector leading the way, but we believe the implied default rate of the overall US high yield market is over-exaggerated. Therefore, we suggest investors look at holding corporate bonds, which also pay an attractive income yield."

Albert Tse, Head of Intermediary Distribution South East Asia, Schroders

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