A million dollars makes almost anyone in the world a certifiably rich individual. So looking at how such rich individuals invest their wealth can often tell us a lot about what investing approaches work in the real world.
The National Bureau of Economic Research (US) published the results of a recent survey of millionaire investors in the US. The survey included detailed interactions with 2,484 individuals with investable assets greater than USD 1 Million.
Here are the key findings of the survey
- The beliefs of investors, who are worth a million dollars or more, about financial markets and the economy are similar to the average US Household.
- Millionaire investors are less driven by discomfort with the market, financial constraints, and labor income considerations (Not too worried about market levels, etc).
- Professional Advice most affects the portfolio exposure to equities when it comes to wealthy investors
- In the case of wealthy investors, concentrated holdings are motivated by a belief in higher risk-adjusted returns of a security.
- Millionaire investors believe that risk is not always associated with higher expected returns.
- Active investing in equities is most motivated by professional advice and the expectation of higher average returns
- 94% of the respondents invest in equities, and it seems to be the dominant allocation
- Millionaire investors ensure that their fixed Income exposures are biased towards low-risk avenues
- For millionaire investors, real estate is a rather minor allocation in the overall portfolio
- The use of alternatives such as PE, VC, etc, is much lower than expected (10% of the universe invests in these alternatives with an average exposure of 13%)
- 45% of the investors have pursued active management of their investments
The Scripbox way of investing has a surprising similarity to what these findings hint at. Let’s find out how:
- Millionaire investors are less driven by discomfort with the market. For example, they are not too worried about market levels. We believe the same when we say that don’t try to time the market – invest when you have an investable surplus.
- We believe investing in equities should be driven by professional advice. Identify a capable fund manager and let the fund manager do his job. This belief parallels how millionaire investors trust professionals for the most part when it comes to managing equity in their portfolios.
- We, at Scripbox, believe that risk is not always associated with higher expected returns. This same belief seems to be guiding wealthy investors in the US. Risk is the possibility of a wide range of outcomes; some may be negative.
- At Scripbox, the asset allocation approach to portfolio construction is gospel. We believe in creating a mix of four asset classes to construct portfolios that suit investor profiles. The wealthy American investor seems to follow a similar approach looking at their exposure to multiple asset classes.
- 94% of the respondents to the survey invest in equities. This makes it a default asset class for most investors. We believe equities should have a higher weight for most growth portfolios, and it reflects in what we offer to our clients.
- The majority of fixed-income investments made by wealthy investors are low-risk. This mirrors our belief that debt investments should be allocated to the safest of options. Anyone would find this to be true, looking at our recommendations.
- Only 10% of millionaire investors have an allocation to PE / VC Investing, and that accounts for a small part of the portfolio. This confirms our belief that PE / VC Investing is for the Ultra HNI, and only a small part at that.
Our investment management philosophy is designed keeping in mind what works for investors in most scenarios – including the worst-case scenario. This, and data, influence what we recommend to our clients. While we feel somewhat vindicated that the beliefs of some of the most successful investors in the world’s biggest economy parallel ours, we aren’t surprised either.
Good investing is often doing what’s tried, tested, and utterly boring. The wealthy seem to swear by this, and we believe this is something to note for the Indian investor as well.