Upcoming election heightens global investors' concerns
The looming U.S. fiscal cliff is considered by global investors to be the biggest risk to their portfolios, according to the September BofA Merrill Lynch Fund Manager Survey. It is the first time since April 2011 that these investors were not primarily concerned with the EU sovereign debt crisis.
The proportion of those surveyed who considered the EU sovereign risk the biggest risk to their portfolios fell from 48 percent in August to 33 percent, while those who consider the U.S. fiscal cliff as a greater threat than the eurozone rose to 35 percent.
These concerns are no doubt heightened by election year partisan gridlock which is preventing a deal regarding the Bush-era tax cuts, which are scheduled to expire in January, triggering scheduled massive spending cuts. If no action is taken, it is feared that the country could slide back into a recession.
“Investors now view the U.S. fiscal cliff as a greater threat than the eurozone—and the upcoming election is putting these fears into sharper focus,” Michael Hartnett, chief investment strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research, said in a statement.
Two months ago, roughly two-thirds of the nation’s high net worth investors said they were adjusting their investment strategies in response to the eurozone crisis, while just over half were making changes in response to the fiscal cliff, according to a Millionaire Corner survey of affluent investors.
The majority of high net worth investors expressed faith that Congress would prevent the national economy from “falling off the cliff,” while roughly 44 percent said they were “mildly concerned,” Close to 47 percent were “very concerned” and worried about another recession.
In response, more than 30 percent of high net worth investors said they are increasing their cash reserves and more than 15 percent are increasing their investment in recession-proof companies. Eleven percent are allocating more of their investable assets to tax-sheltered accounts, such as 401(k)s and IRAs.
Donald Liebenson writes news and features for Millionaire Corner. He has been published in the Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Los Angeles Times, Fiscal Times, Entertainment Weekly, Huffington Post, and other outlets. He has also served as a marketing writer for Chicago-based Questar Entertainment and distributor Baker & Taylor.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, he is married with a college-age son. He also writes extensively about entertainment.