Wealthy investors increase cash holdings despite general market optimism: UBS

By Maddie Johnson | October 25, 2019 | Last updated on October 25, 2019
2 min read
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Despite an uptick in optimism towards the economy, high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs are concerned about how politics will affect their investments, according to UBS Global Wealth Management’s most recent investor sentiment survey.

The quarterly survey polled over 4,600 wealthy investors and business owners in 18 markets.

At the end of the third quarter, 53% of survey respondents were optimistic about the global economy and 61% for their own region’s economy. Additionally, 56% were bullish toward their own region’s stocks, a 1% increase from the previous quarter.

However, 34% of respondents said they were shifting more money to cash. Global cash holdings rose one percentage point to 27%, much higher than the percentage recommended by UBS Global Wealth Management’s chief investment office.

Wealthy investors said their caution is a result of market volatility from the trade war. Almost three quarters (73%) of respondents said the trade war concerned them.

The sentiment was the same for entrepreneurs. According to the survey, only 34% of business owners said they were planning to hire new staff, down 5% from the previous quarter. More than four in 10 respondents (44%) said a global recession was highly likely in the next six months.

Respondents were also concerned about the political landscape in their home markets. The concern was especially prevalent in the U.S., with 60% worried about domestic politics.

“Geopolitical concerns such as the global trade war are keeping investor optimism in check. There is a dichotomy in sentiment — investors are holding large cash balances in a wait-and-see mode, even though nearly 50% anticipate higher stock market returns in the next six months,” said Paula Polito, client strategy officer, UBS Wealth Management.

Read the full report.

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Maddie Johnson

Maddie is a freelance writer and editor who has been reporting for Advisor.ca since 2019.