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WAM Insights: High Net Worth Investors’ Optimism Grows for the Third Consecutive Month

August 6, 2020

Economic Outlook:

The Phoenix Wealth & Affluent Monitor Economic Optimism trend line increases from 30% in June to 38% in July among HNW respondents, its highest level since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the US. The current 38% optimism rating among HNW investors also represents roughly a 65% proportional improvement over the lowest rating (23%) that was seen in April 2020. In the Mass Affluent audience, Economic Optimism is nearly identical to that of High Net Worth consumers, at 37% overall. Although Mass Affluent optimism is down slightly from 42% last month, July’s ratings remain well above this group’s low point of 26% optimism in March 2020.

Investing Outlook:

The Wealth & Affluent Monitor’s Investment Outlook – the percentage of affluent investors planning to increase their level of investments in the next three months – remains steady for the third straight month, with roughly 3 in 10 total respondents indicating that they will increase their investments. The most frequent outcome for both HNW and Mass Affluent consumers is once again to make no changes to their investments and finances, which is the current plan for close to two-thirds of each audience. This marks the first time since September 2019 that over 60% of both HNW and Mass Affluent investors plan no changes to their investments within the same month.

Perspective:

Results from the July 2020 Phoenix Wealth & Affluent Monitor maintain the slight trend of positivity seen last month, though investors are clearly still uncertain overall about the future. Thanks to the strong increase in Economic Optimism among HNW respondents this month, positivity about the US economic outlook among $1M+ households is the highest it has been since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, levels of optimism for both segments clearly remain well below what they were pre-Coronavirus, and Investment Outlook ratings have been largely unchanged for three months. While an uptick in Economic Optimism is promising – particularly from the most affluent investors – the high percentage of consumers who are still planning to wait and make no changes to their investments in the near future underscores the overall sentiment that investors are still taking a very cautious approach, wary of the impact of further potential COVID outbreaks and other socioeconomic factors that may hinder the market.

 

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