The majority of retail investors, some 54 per cent, globally feel more confident about investment opportunities in the next 12 months than they did a year ago, according to the Schroders Global Investment Trends Survey 2015.
Nine-in-ten (91 per cent) of investors across the globe expect to see their investments grow over the next 12 months. Globally, retail investors are expecting a challenging average return of 12 per cent over this period.
The study, commissioned by Schroders amongst over 20,000 retail investors in 28 countries, shows an increasing appetite for financial investments compared to previous years. Half of those questioned intend to increase the amount they save or invest in the coming 12 months, compared to just 43 per cent of those questioned in 2014 and 38 per cent of those polled in 2013. On average, investors plan to increase the amount they save or invest by 8.5 per cent over the next year. Overall, 87 per cent of investors worldwide are looking to generate an income from their investments.
Almost nine-in-ten (88 per cent) retail investors said they made a profit from their investments in the past 12 months, with average gains of 10 per cent, and 5 per cent reported a loss. In comparison, investors polled two years ago reported making an average loss of 4.6 per cent since the recession.
However, despite the high levels of confidence being reported this year and optimistic expectations of double-digit returns in the next 12 months, the Schroders survey reveals a significant disconnect between expected returns and the appetite that investors have for risk, with many favouring shorter-term and lower risk investments.
Typically, retail investors are looking to place only around 21 per cent of their investment portfolio in higher risk / higher return assets such as equities, with 45 per cent of investors’ funds going to low risk / low return assets such as cash and around a third (35 per cent) being placed in medium risk assets such as bonds. The data shows a bias towards short-term investing, with almost half (46 per cent) preferring outcomes within one to two years.
Despite this disconnect, less than a quarter (23 per cent) of retail investors polled will change their strategy by seeking professional financial advice, with more than a third (34 per cent) of global investors intending to invest as they have done in previous years.
Massimo Tosato, Executive Vice Chairman, Schroders plc said: “It’s overwhelmingly clear that the demand for income is prevalent as retail investors seek to meet various objectives such as financing their children’s education, purchasing a first home, setting up new businesses, or supplementing their existing income in retirement. The necessity and challenge to generate income from investments is strong, particularly given the global low interest rate environment.
“However, our survey highlights a clear disconnect globally between retail investors’ return expectations and their attitudes to risk. Expecting double digit returns within the next 12 months, while only placing less than a quarter (21 per cent) of their investment portfolio in higher risk assets suggests that investors are not taking a realistic approach to investing. It’s imperative that investors shape their portfolios to balance the risk profile with the returns they are seeking, and in most cases, that will require a level of professional advice.”
Globally Asian, UAE, South American and South African retail investors are the most focused on income investing, with more than 90 per cent of each planning to do so, compared to more than 80 per cent of North American, Australian and European investors. Interestingly, fewer UK investors (70 per cent) plan to invest in assets to generate a regular income. Global investors are typically accessing income through funds (23 per cent); direct equities (20 per cent) or real estate – either as a direct investment or via real estate investment trusts or funds (10 per cent).
Massimo Tosato concludes, “Retail investors around the world are considering income investing because of low bond and bank interest rates and the long-term and stable opportunities typically associated with dividend paying companies. They recognise the value of re-investment and portfolio growth as a cornerstone of income investing. It is also essential that retail investors diversify their investments across regions and asset classes.”