Investors in the U.S are holding a quarter of their assets in cash, a new survey from UBS Global Wealth Management found this week.
The quarterly Investor Sentiment survey, which analyzed 3,653 investors’ holdings in the U.S., looked at investors with more than $1 million in investable assets during the month of March.
Around the world, investors are holding an average 32% of their portfolios in cash, while in the U.S., 23% of investors’ assets are in cash, the study found. U.S. investors hold less cash than those in Europe (35%), Switzerland (31%), Latin America (36%) and Asia (36%).
This is not what financial advisors would recommend to high net worth investors.
“Cash is a safe asset for a liquidity strategy but a risky one for longevity,” Paula Polito, Client Strategy Officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, said in a press release announcing the survey’s results. “Right now, we see high levels of cash globally. This is a good time for investors to consider a more diversified portfolio.”
Financial advisors may not recommend a cash allocation that’s as high as this, but investors are likely holding onto all that cash for what they consider logical reasons. Some are waiting for the stock market, now hovering close to all-time highs, to fall so that they can buy in at lower levels. Others have a conservative bent and prefer to keep some assets in cash where it’s not at risk. And some are keeping cash in anticipation of a large purchase, like a home.
What’s nearly certain is that most, if not the vast majority, of this investor cash is earning less than it could. The average interest rate on cash held in savings accounts is now 0.10% (10 basis points). How can an investor earn more on cash? CDs generally pay higher rates, but they lock up investors’ money for a fixed term. Fixed-income investments also pay more, but they are not FDIC-insured, and involve risk.
This is where Max is helpful. The top rate on the Max platform, available only to Max members, is 2.71%. If an investor in the UBS survey has $1 million in assets, including $230,000 in cash, he or she is making, on average, $230 a year in interest on that cash in the bank. The same investor would earn $6,233 each year with Max. That’s the highest rate on FDIC-insured cash anywhere in the country. This interest compounds year over year, to generate even more return on risk-free cash.
Learn more about how to get started with Max and get your cash working harder for you.