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Investors are 'still afraid of what happened in 2008,' JPMorgan's Callahan Erdoes says

Mary Callahan Erdoes
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Mary Callahan Erdoes

Investors are "still afraid" after the global financial crisis, the CEO of a mammoth asset management firm said Tuesday.

"There's an enormous amount of people in cash. They're still afraid of what happened in 2008. They're still afraid to take long-term viewpoints," said Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO of JPMorgan Asset Management, at the Delivering Alpha conference sponsored by CNBC and Institutional Investor.

The S&P 500 has climbed more than 4 percent this year, but investors have fled stocks for short periods of time after events like Britain's vote to leave the European Union — the so-called Brexit. Money has flooded into global Treasury markets.

Callahan Erdoes contended that a focus on short-term risks "erodes everything" about long-term investment gains. She said money managers should focus on maintaining long-term gains while adapting to immediate risks.

JPMorgan Asset Management manages more than $2 trillion.