Wealthy investors are more pessimistic about the stock market than they were last year, according to a survey by PNC Wealth Management.

The Wealth and Values survey found that while 51% of wealthy investors were upbeat on the market last year, that figure has dropped to 40% this year, while pessimistic respondents now number 34% of the survey population, up from 28% in 2009. Optimism about the U.S. economy fell from 37% to 23% year over year and only 15% of wealthy investors anticipate near-term growth in real estate prices.

That said, wealthy investors’ outlook for their own holdings remained relatively stable at 47%, down from 51% in 2009, while the number of pessimists fell from 20% to 16%. The remainder, 37%, remains on the fence.

Wealthy investors are also divided over whether having a financial advisor actually makes any difference. While 15% of respondents said their advisor was a huge help during the downturn and 31% said their advisor was at least somewhat useful, the largest proportion of wealthy investors, 44%, said having an advisor didn’t help at all, while 11% said having an advisor hurt them.

“This should serve as a wake-up call in the financial advisory business,” Thomas Melcher, executive vice president and managing director of Hawthorn, the division of PNC Wealth Management that serves clients with $20 million or more in investable assets said in a statement. “They want someone to help them. But whoever helps them is going to have to work.”


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