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Over-confidence amongst US retail investors with majority expecting a return of 10% over the next year


  • Disconnect between retail investors’ expected returns and their attitudes to investment risk, with relatively few planning to seek professional advice.
  • Thirst for income: with low interest rates continuing to dominate, 83% of retail investors are looking to invest in assets to generate income.

NEW YORK — Over half (57%) of retail investors in the US feel more confident about investment opportunities in the next 12 months than they did a year ago,according to the Schroders Global Investment Trends Survey 2015. In addition, almost nine-in-ten(88%) US investors expect to see their investments grow over the next 12 months. Retail investors in the US are expecting a strong average annual return of 10% over this period,despite planning to allocate approximately a sizable portion of their portfolios (41%) to low risk assets, such as cash.

Increased appetite for investments

The study, commissioned by Schroders amongst over 20,000 retail investors in 28 countries including 2,000 in the US, shows an increasing appetite for financial investments compared to recent years. Of those surveyed in the US, almost nine in ten (88%) plan to increase or maintain the amount they save or invest in the coming 12 months, with over half (56%) planning to invest more this year than last year. On average, investors plan to increase the amount they save or invest by 12% over the next year. Overall, 83% of US investors are looking to generate income from their investments.

Disconnect between expected returns and attitude to risk

Almost nine in ten (85%) retail investors said they made a profit from their investments in the
past 12 months, with average gains of 9%, which was consistent with the results seen globally,
where 88% made a profit of approximately 10%. 

However, despite the high levels of confidence being reported this year and optimistic expectations of double-digit returns in the next 12 months, the Schroders survey reveals a significant disconnect between expected returns and the appetite that investors have for risk, with many favouring lower risk investments.

Typically, retail investors are looking to place only around 22% of their investment portfolio in higher risk / higher return assets such as equities, with 41% of investors’ funds going to low risk/ low return assets such as cash and around a third (37%) being placed in medium risk assets such as bonds. Interestingly, US investors surveyed had longer-than-average time horizons, with 35% planning to leave their investment for at least 10 years to gain more profit, compared to a bias towards short-term investing in the rest of the world, with almost half (46%) of those surveyed globally preferring outcomes within one to two years.

Despite this disconnect, less than a quarter (22%) of US retail investors polled will make
changes to their investments in the year ahead based on professional financial advice, with 41%
intending to invest as they have done in previous years and a third (33%) changing their
investments in response to market conditions.

Massimo Tosato, Executive Vice Chairman, Schroders plc said: “It’s overwhelmingly clear that the demand for income is prevalent as retail investors seek to meet various objectives such as financing their children’s education, purchasing a first home, setting up new businesses, or supplementing their existing income in retirement. The necessity and challenge to generate income from investments is strong, particularly given the global low interest rate environment.

“However, our survey highlights a clear disconnect globally between retail investors’ return
expectations and their attitudes to risk. Expecting double digit returns within the next 12 months,
while only placing less than a quarter (21%) of their investment portfolio in higher risk assets suggests that investors are not taking a realistic approach to investing. It’s imperative that investors shape their portfolios to balance the risk profile with the returns they are seeking, and in most cases, we believe that will require a level of professional advice.”

Thirst for income
Globally Asian, UAE, South American and South African retail investors are the most focused on income investing, with more than 90% of each planning to do so, compared to more than 80% of North American, Australian and European investors. UK investors (70%) plan to invest to a lesser extent in assets to generate a regular income. US investors are typically accessing
income through direct equities (18%) or multi-asset funds (14%).

Demand for professional financial advice
A survey of 220 intermediaries in the US conducted at the same time concluded that almost two-thirds (65%) believe demand for their services will increase over the next twelve months. Of those that felt that demand would increase over the next twelve months, over a quarter (28%) attributed this to market volatility leading investors to rely more on professional financial advice. Almost a fifth (19%) felt that clients are currently seeing more opportunities and want guidance
on their investment choices and appropriate asset allocation. Looking at their current client base, US intermediaries find that their clients have the most diverse goals of all countries surveyed, with long-term capital security (28%), capital growth with
regular drawdown (22%), pure capital growth (21%) and a regular income (20%) appearing with similar prominence.

Carter Sims Head of US Intermediary Distribution concluded: “Given the variety of investment objectives highlighted in this survey, and the disconnect between the double-digit returns that investors are seeking and their current risk appetites, we feel that seeking professional financial advice is of paramount importance in order to navigate the choppy waters ahead and help investors better position themselves for achieving their various goals.”

For more information regarding the survey and results please see:


(Please note that this link goes to the page of our UK-based affiliate that conducted the survey. The link is not intended as an offer or solicitation by that affiliate of any service or product.)


Schroders commissioned Research Plus Ltd to conduct an independent survey of 20,706 retail investors in 28 countries around the world who intend to invest at least €10,000 (or the equivalentduring the next 12 months. The survey was conducted online between 3rd - 27th March 2015 and these individuals represent the views of investors in each country involved in the survey.

This material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. The material is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for accounting, legal or tax advice, or investment recommendations. The opinions stated in this presentation include some forecasted views. We believe that we are basing our expectations and beliefs on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of what we currently know. However, there is no guarantee that any
forecast or opinions will be realized.

About Schroder Investment Management North America Inc.
Schroder Investment Management North America Inc. is a unit of Schroders plc (SDR.L), a global
asset management company with approximately $474.3 billion under management as of March 31,
2015. Schroder’s clients include major financial institutions including banks and insurance companies,
as well as local and public authorities, public and private pension funds, endowments and foundations,intermediaries and advisors, as well as high net worth individuals and retail investors. The firm has built one of the largest networks of offices of any dedicated asset management company with more than 400 portfolio managers and analysts covering the world's investment markets, offering a comprehensive range of products and services.

Schroder Investment Management North America Inc. is an investment advisor registered with the U.S. SEC. It provides asset management products and services to clients in the U.S. and Canada including Schroder Capital Funds (Delaware), Schroder Series Trust and Schroder Global Series Trust, investment companies registered with the SEC (the "Schroder Funds"). Shares of the Schroder Funds are distributed by Schroder Fund Advisors LLC, a member FINRA. Schroder Investment Management North America Inc. and Schroder Fund Advisors LLC are indirect, wholly-owned subsidiaries of Schroders plc, a UK public company with shares listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For additional information about Schroders, go to

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The views and opinions contained herein are those of Schroders’ investment teams and/or Economics Group, and do not necessarily represent Schroder Investment Management North America Inc.’s house views. These views are subject to change. This information is intended to be for information purposes only and it is not intended as promotional material in any respect.