SOURCE: Spectrem Group

January 14, 2010 08:00 ET

Wealthiest Americans Have Become Far More Conservative Investors During Recession

Ultra High Net Worth Households Investing Conservatively Rose Fivefold in 2009; Allow Advisors to Independently Invest Just 18% of Their Assets

CHICAGO, IL--(Marketwire - January 14, 2010) - The recession has driven America's richest investors to put the brakes on risk.

The percentage of U.S. households with a net worth of $5 million to $25 million that describe themselves as "conservative" investors increased fivefold in 2009 to 27%, according to the new report "Ultra High Net Worth Investor 2009," released today by Spectrem Group (www.spectrem.com). That compares with 5% in the "conservative" category the year before.

Households worth $1 million to $5 million that describe themselves as "conservative" grew to 28%, up from 12% in 2008, according to a second Spectrem Group report, "Millionaire Investor 2009."

At the same time, those listing themselves as "aggressive" investors fell sharply, down to 13% for the Ultra High Net Worth group and 12% for the $1 million-to-$5 million group. "Most aggressive" were 3% and 2%, respectively.

"America's wealthiest investors have backed away from risk during the recession in surprising numbers, with more than a quarter of all Ultra High Net Worth households now considering themselves conservative investors. They are also keeping a strong hand in the management of their assets, letting advisors handle just 18% independently and managing nearly half by themselves," said George H. Walper, Jr., President of Spectrem Group.

Ultra High Net Worth households invest 47% of their assets themselves with no professional help. They consult professional advisors but make their own decisions about 35%, and allow advisors to completely handle and provide no input on 18% of their assets.

The Spectrem report "Ultra High Net Worth Investor 2009" is based on a survey of 523 households with a net worth of $5 million to $25 million, not including primary residence (NIPR), conducted in November of 2009. The report "Millionaire Investor 2009" is based on a survey of 1,089 households with a new worth of $1 million to $5 million (NIPR), also conducted in November of 2009. The reports' data have margins of error, respectively, of plus or minus 4.2 and 2.9 percentage points.

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