A new survey of high-net-worth investors suggests the ultra-wealthy place a far greater emphasis on preservation of capital than ordinary investors.
Tiger 21, a peer-to-peer investor network for more than 180 ultra-wealthy individuals, announced the results of its member survey Tuesday. While many of the survey findings seem similar to average investors, on closer inspection big differences emerge.
As the market has grown more volatile, surveys have shown that investors across the globe have reduced their equity holdings and increased their exposure to more stable securities like bonds and cash. Aside from this similarity with average investors, Tiger 21 members also make use of the investment vehicles ordinary investors use, such as individual stocks, bonds, mutual funds and ETFs.
Favorite stocks of Tiger 21 members, for example, don’t look all that different from the average American’s portfolio: Apple (AAPL), General Electric (GE) and Microsoft (MSFT). And including their private home(s), Tiger 21 members have a quarter of their portfolios in real estate just as average investors’ homes make up a significant portion of their net-worth.
But beyond these superficial similarities, deeper differences emerge. Foremost among them is in Tiger 21 member asset allocations, more than a quarter of which goes to fixed income and cash (26%), reflecting a marked avoidance of risk. Michael Sonnenfeldt, founder and chairman of Tiger 21, said in a release: “In general, Tiger 21 members are interested in preserving the wealth they’ve built up over many years of hard work rather than taking unwarranted risks in a very volatile environment.”
In contrast, only 19% of total assets were allocated to equities, but even there differences emerged. While Tiger 21 members hold commonly owned stocks and ETFs, they also use investment vehicles like hedge funds that are out of the league of ordinary investors. After individual stocks, preferred by 50% of members, hedge funds were the second favorite (27%), overshadowing ETFs/index funds (19%) and mutual funds (4%).
Tiger 21 members owning hedge funds favored equity long/short strategy funds (29%) and event-driven funds (24%) over macro funds (15%), relative value funds (9%) and funds of funds (3%), and their favorite managers included Elliott Management Corp., Alpine Associates, Millennium Management. The most exotic investments to make the Tiger 21 Top 10 favorite investments list (of all types of investments) were two master limited partnership funds – Chickashaw Capital Management’s MLP Managed Account and Neuberger Berman's Rachlin Group Income Plus Portfolio.
The survey was taken between May 1 and July 30 and its results do not vary significantly from previous years’ surveys, suggesting the long-term capital preservation approach of this affluent group negates major shifts more readily seen in the broader class of ordinary investors.
Tiger 21’s 180-plus members control over $15 billion in investable assets, for an average of more than $83 million per member.