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Investor psychology is now in a brand new post-crisis phase, fund manager says

Key Points
  • A fund manager claimed that risk perception has had an "underlying shift"
  • Markets now "under-react" to a number of news events which would normally have an effect, he said
Conventional risk spectrum applies to old neo-liberal era, says fund manager

Investor psychology has moved on from the memory of the 2008 financial crash and the recession that followed, a fund manager told CNBC.

"I think what's very interesting at the moment is why equity markets are not really moving very much in response to what you might have expected to be events that would move the equity market a lot," Eric Lonergan, fund manager at M&G, said.

"My personal view is there's something more profound occurring here, which is an underlying shift in risk preferences, which is actually largely about the memory of '08 decaying."

Lonergan said that investors now "under-react" to a number of news events which would normally have an effect.

"So as we get further away from '08, and the kind of permanent wolf-crying that there's a recession around the corner (that) doesn't actually occur, people's risk perceptions are shifting."

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The lost a significant chunk of its value in the aftermath of the financial crash, and the CBOE's Volatility Index (VIX) Index spiked. Too much volatility can create significant risk of fluctuation in a security's value. Whereas too little volatility means that a stock usually maintains its value over time.

"I think there's been a major shift in investor psychology. It has been about capital preservation, low volatility. People are now saying, 'where am I going to get a return from?'," he said, adding that the cause could be "an element of fear of missing out."

"And the problem is, when you've got the bulk of the government bond market delivering you zero real return, in order to get any return, you have to take on and embrace volatility and risk. And I think that's the underlying force, it's actually driving a lot of asset market behavior at the moment."