SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Yeshim Deniz, Glenn Rossman, Cynthia Dunlop

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REPEAT-BMO Harris Private Banking Study: Majority of Canada's Affluent Say They Are Better Off Today Than Before the 2008 Downturn

- Forty-seven per cent are optimistic about Canada's economic future

TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwired) -- 10/05/13 -- According to a study released today by BMO Harris Private Banking, high-net worth Canadians (those with investible assets of $1 million or more) believe they are more financially secure today than they were before the 2008 recession. The study is the second in a series by BMO Harris Private Banking examining trends among the affluent in Canada.

The study found that the majority of affluent Canadians (54 per cent) feel they are better off now than they were before September 2008, with only 11 per cent saying they are worse off and 36 per cent reporting that their financial situation is unchanged. This compares with 61 per cent of high-net worth Americans reporting they are better off and only seven per cent stating they are worse off.

The study also revealed that almost half (47 per cent) of high-net worth Canadians expect Canada's economy to improve in 2013; meanwhile sixty-one per cent are optimistic about what the future holds for the U.S. economy. Fifty-five per cent expect to see gains in Asia and one-in-five (19 per cent) expect the financial situation in Europe to improve. Interestingly, affluent Americans are more optimistic about what the future holds for the Canadian economy than their neighbours up north, with 61 per cent stating that they expect increased prosperity for Canada.

"High-net worth Canadians clearly feel they have bounced back well from the 2008 downturn and are fairly upbeat about what the future has in store for Canada's economy," said Alex Dousmanis-Curtis, Senior Vice President and Head, BMO Harris Private Banking. "However, we're also hearing from many of our clients that they remain somewhat concerned about global market fluctuations. They want to work with us to insulate their wealth - as best as possible - against a downturn."

Canada's Affluent are Happy with Their Portfolios and are Spending More

The study also found that 86 per cent of high-net worth Canadians say they are quite comfortable with their current savings and investment plan. Seventy per cent expect stocks to generate the most solid returns over the next five years, well ahead of real estate (39 per cent), bonds (24 per cent) and cash (19 per cent).

Canada's affluent are most bullish about the financial (76 per cent) and energy (75 per cent) sectors but are apprehensive about the manufacturing (30 per cent) sector. This differs from their American counterparts who feel more positive about the technology/IT (80 per cent Americans vs. 64 per cent Canadians) and manufacturing (50 vs. 30 per cent) sectors.

Additionally, the study shows that affluent Canadians are returning to pre-recession spending levels. They are currently spending more than, or the same as, they did prior to September 2008 in a variety of areas, including:


--  Entertainment and leisure activities (89 per cent) 
--  Travel and vacations (86 per cent) 
--  Club memberships (78 per cent) 
--  Clothing and accessories (75 per cent) 
--  Collections and hobbies (72 per cent) 

"Increased spending shows confidence in the economy and helps spur economic activity. We're delighted to see such a high percentage of high-net worth Canadians opening up their wallets," said Ms. Dousmanis-Curtis."

Regional Breakdown:


----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Region                         % who feel good                              
             % who feel that       about their   % who expect   % who expect
             they are better   current savings   the Canadian       the U.S.
              off today than    and investment     economy to     economy to
            before Sept 2008              plan        improve        improve
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
National                  54                86             47             61
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Atlantic                  60                87             57             77
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Quebec                    56                86             48             74
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ontario                   46                86             45             55
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Alberta                   53                87             42             50
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
B.C.                      64                87             45             57
----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The online survey was conducted by Pollara between March 28th and April 11th, 2013 with a sample of 305 Canadians and 482 Americans with at least $1 million in investable assets. The margin of error for a probability sample of this size is +/- 5.6%, 19 times out of 20 for Canadian results and +/- 4.5%, 19 times out of 20 for US results.

About BMO Harris Private Banking

Backed by the stability and resources of BMO Financial Group, professionals at BMO Harris Private Banking are responsible for the successful management of wealth by providing expert advice and highly personalized services in banking, investment management, estate, trust, succession planning and philanthropic services - all in a coordinated approach. With 35 offices across Canada, including Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, BMO Harris Private Banking is able to service clients in a variety of languages.

For more information on BMO Harris Private Banking, please visit http://www.bmo.com/harrisprivatebanking.

Get the latest BMO press releases via Twitter by following @BMOmedia.

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