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Savers and investors’ risk appetite falls over past year

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Written by: Paloma Kubiak
18/02/2016
Savers and investors’ risk for appetite has fallen over the past year as market volatility, the prospect of an EU referendum and concerns over the US and China have created uncertainty.

New research has found that UK investors have lost some of their appetite for financial risk with only 15% of people surveyed saying they are willing to take reasonable or substantial risk.

This has fallen from the 20% seen in 2015, after a steady increase from 14% in 2013.

Of the 2,012 surveyed, 45% said they are not prepared to take any risk at all with their finances, up from the 40% recorded last year.

Online investment services firm Willis Owen also found that attitudes to risk become more polarised among older people as 54% of 65-74 year olds say they don’t want to take any risk, while 13% would take at least a reasonable amount of risk.

Among 18-24 year olds, this narrows to 39% and 11% respectively. The figures also show that London is the capital of risk taking, with 25% of people prepared to take at least a reasonable amount of financial risk.

Reverse in risk appetite trend

Liz Rees, head of research at Willis Owen, said that while risk appetite had been growing among UK savers and investors, the last 12 months has reversed the trend.

She said: “Market volatility, oil price fluctuations, the prospect of an EU referendum and concerns about the pace of growth in major economies like the US and China have all created uncertainty. And we know that uncertainty tends to limit risk taking behaviour.

“This fall in risk appetite might also be evidence of investors getting their fingers burnt in 2015, when there were weaker returns than in previous years.

Rees added that while the reasons for erring on the side of caution may be evident, some risk is necessary in order to secure a decent return on investments.

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