UK investors most cautious in Europe, stashing more than a third in cash
UK portfolios are the most cautiously positioned in Europe, as investors flee risk assets for the relative safety of cash in a bid to shelter from the volatility roiling global markets, according to a worldwide survey by Legg Mason Asset Management.
The survey, which polled more than 5,370 high-net worth investors across 19 countries, found that, on average, older UK investors have more than a third (36%) of their portfolios invested in cash (up from 29% the year before), compared to a European average of 28%. The UK’s weighting is also the highest of any single country in Europe.
To raise cash, investors have generally trimmed their allocation to risk assets across the board, leaving them in many cases with lower average weightings than their counterparts in Europe. For instance, older UK investors’ average exposure to investment real estate currently stands at 13%, lower than investors in Germany (30%), France (23%), Spain, Switzerland and Belgium (all 19%) and Italy (16%). At 13%, older UK investors also have a lower average allocation to fixed income (European average 14%), gold (UK average 2% versus 3% in Europe) and non-traditional investments (UK average 1% compared to 4% globally).
However, while UK investors have reduced their allocation to equities (to 29% from 31% the year before), their average weighting remains higher than their European peers (26%).
If older UK investors have moved more of their portfolios into cash, millennials (aged 18-39) appear happier to allocate more capital to risk assets. Their average allocation to cash is 20%, compared to the European millennial average of 23%, while younger UK investors have above-average allocations to non-traditional investments, at 13% compared to 10% in Europe.
In terms of other asset classes, UK millennials have the same average weighting to gold (9%) as the European millennial average, but a higher allocation to fixed income (UK average 18% versus 15% in Europe). Their allocations to both equities (UK average 16% compared to 18%) and investment real estate (17% versus 20%) are, however, lower.
Adam Gent, Head of UK Sales, Legg Mason says: “Older UK investors have a higher weighting to cash on average than anywhere else in Europe, with fears over global growth, commodity prices, market volatility and central bank policies seemingly worrying investors over here more than their peers in other key markets.
“It is perhaps unsurprising that, due to their relative youth, millennials have a significantly lower weighting to cash, although notably their allocation to equities is not only below their European peers, but far below their older UK counterparts. With their portfolios more evenly allocated across asset classes, it appears UK millennials are happier to diversify into areas such as non-traditional investments in order to spread risk, rather than lean so heavily on traditional areas like equities.”
Please get in touch for additional information about Legg Mason’s 2016 Global Investment Study