Chinese, Indian investment professionals show strong support for CBDC in new survey

The CFA Institute asked members around the world how they felt about CBDCs. Their responses might surprise the crypto community.

The CFA Institute, the professional association that provides Chartered Financial Analyst credentialing, surveyed its members on their perceptions of central bank digital currency (CBDC), saying it wanted to examine the demand-side outlook on the financial technology. 

The survey found a wide array of opinions that depended on the location and even the age of the respondents. The response was generally unenthusiastic. Although 47% of respondents said they had a moderate understanding of CBDCs and 42% said they believed that central banks should launch digital versions of fiat currencies (with 24% having no opinion), there was a wide divergence between those in developed and emerging markets.

Investment professionals in the United States showed the least support for a CBDC launch, at 31%, compared with 37% in favor in developed markets overall. In emerging markets, support averaged 61%, with support reaching 66% in India and 70% in China. Bankers showed more support (50% at commercial banks, 51% at investment banks) than asset managers (38%).

Support for CBDCs by geography. Source: CFA Institute

The most common reason for supporting CBDCs was accelerated payments and transfers (58%). That was followed by the somewhat cryptic proposition that central authorities should play a central role in the development of cryptocurrencies (30%).

Privacy was the most common objection (50%). That was followed by a lack of use case (40%). Only 10% of respondents thought a CBDC would be harmful to banks. Forty-six percent of respondents overall thought a CBDC would have little or no impact on financial inclusion. However, the regional variation in responses was pronounced, as a clear majority in China (66%) and India (64%) thought a CBDC would improve inclusion, with U.S. respondents coming in lowest at 24%.

Related: Existential threat? Why some banks are anxious about CBDCs

Willingness to use a CBDC showed similar distributions. Bankers and those under the age of 45 showed the greatest willingness to use one.

The survey received more responses by far from the U.S. than any other country. The institute sent over 94,000 surveys to its members and recorded a response rate of 5%. Eighty-five percent of respondents were male.

CBDCs are controversial in the crypto community and politically divisive in the United States. The responses of the investment professionals reflect a distinctly different outlook on the issue.

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