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Wealthy Investors Knowledge

Wealthy Investors Reveal Optimism – and a Knowledge Gap

Nearly 5o% of wealthy investors (>$250,000 in household investable assets) say they feel optimistic about the macro economy.

These findings came from the latest survey by AMG Funds. The survey polled approximately 1,000 affluent individual investors about their expectations. The survey focused on equity markets and the economic environment, as well as their investing plans.

* AMG Funds is the U.S. retail distribution arm of global asset management company, Affiliated Managers Group, Inc. (NYSE: AMG). 

These investors also foresee fundamental changes in the economy, with the majority of respondents expecting a rise in interest rates (64%) and the rate of inflation (59%).

Wealthy Investor Survey Main Highlights:

  • Investment Goals: Wealth preservation ranks as investors’ top investment goal (28%), followed by a near tie among diversification (23%), income generation (23%) and growth maximization (22%)
  • Volatility: 58% of affluent investors say large swings in the stock market make them very uncomfortable, and nearly half (48%) believe that portfolio volatility cannot be reduced without compromising growth
  • Diversification: While more than half (55%) of respondents believe their portfolio is adequately diversified, 49% believe that a portfolio is adequately diversified as long as it is invested across a broad range of stocks
  • Investment Advice: 48% of respondents say they need investment advice more today than they did in the past, and 42% are willing to pay more for oversight of their investments

“The findings of our study have implications for both clients and their financial advisors. While many affluent investors are optimistic about the forward trajectory of the economy, most respondents agree that ongoing market volatility will continue to impact their portfolios – and they may underestimate the investment returns required to meet their long-term objectives in such a market environment,”said Jeffrey Cerutti, CEO of AMG Funds.

said Jeffrey Cerutti, CEO of AMG Funds.

“Given affluent investors’ defined investment goals of wealth preservation, diversification, income generation and growth maximization, our study suggests that there is a meaningful opportunity to provide more guidance and education to this client base about effective investing during uneven markets, including the benefits of active management and alternative investments within a diversified portfolio.”

Other Survey Highlights:

  • Actively-managed mutual funds remain popular. More than half (56%) of respondents say they currently own actively managed mutual funds. Moreover, 93% of these individuals plan to maintain or increase such allocations over the next 12 months.
  • Of those offering an opinion, 75% of respondents believe that active management provides added value. They believe it is possible to outperform market indices through expert stock selection
  • Respondents who believe one can outperform the market see less risk in active funds (18% see high risk) than passive funds (23% see high risk)
  • Respondents assigned greater allocations to an active investment option (55%) than a passive investment option (45%)
  • The active allocation increases to 60% among three groups: (1) Those who expect macroeconomic headwinds. (2) Those who need more investment advice. (3) Those who believe it is possible to outperform the market through expert stock selection


Most affluent investors surveyed also admitted to a knowledge gap on alternative investments. They revealed they know little or nothing about alternative investments:

  • One-in-10 respondents feels highly confident in selecting these investments without the guidance of a financial advisor
  • More than half (54%) of respondents indicate that alternatives are a ‘mystery.’ Yet, nearly half (47%) of investors wish they knew more
  • 77% of current investors in alternative products say that an advisor played a role in the purchase
  • At the same time, 54% of advised investors say they have never discussed alternative investments with their advisor

For the purposes of this study, alternative investments include investments other than stocks, bonds or cash. Examples range from hedge funds to private equity, real-estate funds and other non-traditional investments.

The AMG Funds survey of nearly 1,000 affluent investors was conducted online among those with more than $250,000 in household investable assets, who participate in making household savings and investment decisions. Data was collected between September 10 and 16, 2015, among respondents, age 18 or older, through an online consumer panel.


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