Asset class forecasts

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We asked respondents how they thought different types of investments would perform, both on a one-year and a five-year horizon.

Equities 10 of 17 The engaged investor 8 of 17

Residents of the United States, please read this important information before proceeding

Please read this important information before proceeding.

The survey reveals an enduring faith in equities and property, relative to other asset classes, although as discussed in the chart below, wealthy investors appear more gloomy than institutional investors about the outlook for equities. It is also clear that there is a continuing interest in "alternative" asset classes such as hedge funds and private equity. However, there are large variations in the survey responses by country.

Charlotte Beyer is Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the US-based Institute for Private Investors (IPI), which provides educational and networking facilities for wealthy families and their advisers.

Her organisation's research says that its members almost halved their cash holdings over the course of 2009, as confidence began to return to the markets. In contrast, their holdings in (US) municipal bonds increased marginally, and those in global equity also increased.

One problem was with hedge funds, on which US family offices have traditionally been keen. IPI members remain bullish on the potential returns from hedge funds - but continue to have worries about the ease of withdrawing money from them.

More broadly, she wonders how easy it is for individuals to judge recent events and form a clear view of the future. "We become very accustomed to what we've lived through and, because we are human, we put on that lens going forward," she says. "I use the image of driving using the rear view mirror. Very few people can really break out of that and just look forward and say, 'Well, what's really going to happen?'"