As long as financial problems in Europe and the U.S. continue, the market will remain flat and investors will remain nervous in 2012, the head of Raymond James Financial told CNBC.
"They are investing not to lose money," Paul Reilly said Thursday, adding that investors were putting money in short-term fixed income, dividend-paying equities and keeping cash.
"Until Europe gets solved and the U.S. solves its own debt issue, I’m afraid [the market will] be flattish with up and down bumps until the election."
Reilly said volatility, especially for the individual investor, had been scary and that's why investors were being conservative.
He expects the volatility to continue until Europe fixes its debt crisis. "They are struggling with their banking crisis. We have one Congress to deal with, they have 17-plus congresses to deal with," he said.
The CEO of Raymond James Financial said his firm has also been conservative.
"We've had 95 consecutive quarters of profitability because we don't take big bets, we take steady bets." Reilly said the company has also been hiring some of the people its competitors laid off during 2008 and 2009.