Canadian affluent investors have a high propensity to seek investment advice from a professional advisor when compared to their counterparts in other countries.

That’s according to results of a 24-country survey of affluent investors (US$100,000+ household investable assets) released Thursday by TNS Canada.

Eighty-nine per cent of Canadian respondents turn to professional advisors at least occasionally, the third highest level of all countries surveyed, behind only Sweden (100%) and India (95%). In fact, Canadians are tied with investors in Denmark as the most likely to agree that “I rely upon an investment professional or advisor to make most or all of my investment decisions”, with 25% stating that this best describes their investment approach.

“Canadians tend to be conservative investors, and this comparatively high degree of usage of professional financial advisors is likely reflective of this tendency”, says Rhonda Grunier, vice president of Financial Sector research at TNS Canada. “This presents a good opportunity for financial institutions to strengthen their relationships with affluent clients by offering personalized investment advice and a range of investment products.”

Outside of deposit accounts (held by 90%), affluent Canadians are most likely to invest in mutual funds (held by 56%). This is one of the highest levels of mutual fund ownership of all countries surveyed (Chinese investors top the list of mutual fund holders at 85%).

In contrast, Canadians are among the least likely to include stocks in their investment portfolio, with 44% holding stocks, the fourth lowest level. Stocks are most popular in China (100%), Hong Kong (85%) and Finland (82%).

Canadians are second only to the Chinese in their propensity to have a retirement account, with 88% of affluent Canadians reporting having an RRSP.

The top two financial goals of affluent investors worldwide are to assure a comfortable standard of living during retirement and maintain their present standard of living. Canadians are no exception, giving these goals average importance ratings, respectively, of 8.6 and 8.2 out of 10.

Compared to their counterparts in other countries, Canadians (and Americans) are much less comfortable using the Internet for investment related activities. Canadians are most likely to indicate that they do not use the Internet at all for financial research, investing or transacting (24%), followed by Americans (21%). Investors in China are the leaders in using the Internet, with 56% using it for all of their investment information and transactional needs.

TNS’ Global Affluent Investor program offers insights into the investment behaviour of affluent households in 24 key markets including key emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil. In total 12,092 decision makers in affluent households (US$100,000 investable assets) were interviewed online between May and August 2011. In Canada, interviews were conducted among 386 affluent investors.