Millionaires are pouring money into Europe

European stocks can outperform US stocks 2015: Pro
European stocks can outperform US stocks 2015: Pro

Europe is the sick man of the global economy. So why are millionaires investing their money there?

According to a new survey from Spectrem Group, Europe is the preferred overseas investment for millionaires.

When asked which countries or regions they plan to invest in this year, Europe topped the list at 19 percent. It was followed by China at 15 percent, Canada at 12 percent and the UK at 9 percent. Brazil, Australia, Japan and India tied for fifth with 8 percent.

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The European focus marks a big shift since 2011, when China was the top overseas investment destination, at 21 percent. It was followed by Brazil with 20 percent. Europe was a distant third in 2011 at 12 percent.

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The latest survey polled 1,465 people with investible assets of $1 million to $5 million.

So why do millionaires like a region wracked with recession fears, looming deflation and increasingly jittery stock markets?

George Walper, president of Spectrem Group, said millionaires don't necessarily love Europe—it's more that they feel the governments there are more stable and less involved in the economy than governments in China, Brazil and other once-trendy emerging markets.

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"I think it's more around where they have the most comfort," Walper said. "When you look at China and Brazil and other countries there's a concern about stability and what the governments are doing."

In other words, it's not that Europe is attractive. But for millionaires, it's the least unattractive of the overseas markets right now.