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Turbulent markets take their toll on wealthy Aussies

The trillion-dollar-plus pool of assets controlled by Australia’s high-net-worth (HNW) individuals has taken a hit as the markets continue their volatile run, according to new research.

The collective wealth of Australia's HNW investors sat at $1.55 trillion in October 2015, down from $1.57 trillion at the same time in 2014, according to research released this week from Investment Trends.

Further, as at October 2015, there were 440,000 HNW investors controlling investable assets of more than $1 million, down from 445,000 in October 2014.

"Direct shares and property make up two thirds of a typical Australian HNW investor's portfolio," said Investment Trends senior analyst Irene Guiamatsia.

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"Whilst the property market remained buoyant, the slump in commodity prices and share market volatility throughout the year weighed down on overall asset growth."

Further, the report shows HNWs are increasingly open to part with their cash, but still struggle to identify good investment opportunities. On average, they deem 42 per cent of their cash reserves to be in "excess", or ready to be invested once the volatility subsides, up from 37 per cent a year ago.

"HNW investors are keeping a sizeable part of their wealth in the most liquid form at the moment, despite uninspiring cash rates," Ms Guiamatsia said.

"Our research indicates this state of affairs could, however, evolve rather quickly under the right circumstances."

About 42 per cent of HNW investors are using at least one adviser as a source of investment advice, up from 40 per cent from the previous year.

Considering advised HNW clients are more likely than their unadvised peers to have unmet financial needs, the uptake means there is room for advisers to improve their offering, the report said.

"Preference for control remains the largest barrier to taking up advice among HNWs, but next comes the question of the adviser's expertise, which is central to building perceptions of value," Ms Guiamatsia said.

"The onus is on advisers to rethink their approach to service delivery. It is about engaging investors in a way that keeps them at the helm of the decision-making process, whilst demonstrating expertise and sophistication."

 

Turbulent markets take their toll on wealthy Aussies
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