Europe's wealthiest people are planning to put more of their cash into equities, believing they will outperform all other asset classes, new data shows. And it's those ultra-high net worth individuals based in the crisis-hit countries like Spain and Greece who are more bullish than any other group.
Some 75 percent of Europe's ultra-high net worth private investors with assets of at least $30 million along with high net worth investors, those with more than $1 million in liquid assets, plan to commit additional cash reserves to their investment portfolios generally, according to research carried out by JPMorgan Private Bank.
Wealthy investors in Spain and Greece were more convinced of the performance of stocks than any other group, with 70 percent and 59 percent of investors in these countries respectively bullish on the asset class, particularly European equities, the study found.
More than half of those polled across 15 different European cities revealed they plan to invest more cash in equities, followed by 18 percent willing to add more money to alternatives such as hedge funds and real estate. A further 18 percent however plan to hang onto their cash rather than invest it.
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"Many investors have carried large cash positions over the past few years and have missed out on strong returns for risk assets, especially equities. We believe 2014 will be another year in which it pays to be invested," said chief investment strategist for JPMorgan Private Bank in EMEA, César Pérez.
Almost 1000 of Europe's wealthiest investors were surveyed in person by JPMorgan Private Bank on their investment sentiment and portfolio positioning in January and February this year.
At the same time, high net worth individuals are increasingly using their pricey assets such as cars, art and diamonds as collateral for loans, as demand for large scale loans rises.
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U.K. based personal asset lender Borro has issued £70 million worth of loans since it launched in 2008 and recently secured a further £67 million lending facility to meet growing need.
Borro offers loans of up to £1.2 million against high value assets and the firm said it had recently lent against a selection of Warhol canvases, a Bugatti and a 9 carat diamond.
Borro chief executive Paul Aitken said the group has lent against a plane, designer handbags and antiques in both the U.K. and the U.S.
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"Our customers are asset-rich, cash-poor. The reasons for this can vary - be it for bridging proposes, to pay an unexpected tax bill, to pay school fees or to fund a business or property venture," said Aitken.