Shares, no thanks?

Goldman Sachs Asset Management has analysed the investment behaviour of Germans in a representative survey. Although many recognise the low interest rate environment, they do not react accordingly.

In a representative survey, TNS Infratest has asked 1,027 Germans during August and September 2015 on behalf of Goldman Sachs Asset Management via telephone. People above the age of 14 that have already invested money or have spare money for investing have been asked. Please find the German press release and the survey here.

The passbook remains the most popular investment class. 77.3 percent of participants have invested money into savings books. Much less popular, other asset classes such as shares and equity funds (26.1%), real estate and real estate funds (19.1%), bonds and fixed income funds (12.4%), precious metals and related funds (4.7%) can be found. 9.5 percent have not invested in any of those assets. 

One reason for the popularity of the passbook is the wish for security. For 61.8 percent of asked investors, this is the most important criterium when investing. Liquidity, in regards to access to the capital at any time, is the most important aspects of financial products for 29.4 percent - another reason, for the savings book being so popular. A high return is only for 8.8 percent the most important feature of investment products. For all asset classes, 37.4 to 39.9 percent of investors do not want to take on any risks.

Still, it is somewhat surprising that the passbook is that popular as most investors are unsatisfied with it. 36.2 percent state they are more unsatisfied than satisfied, 24.2 state that they are totally unsatisfied. All other asset classes outperform the savings book in regards to satisfaction. More than half of investors in each other asset class say, that they are satisfied or very satisfied. Real estate and real estate funds are with 33.4 percent of investors saying they are very satisfied and 45 percent saying they are satisfied the top performing asset class in this category.

Most investors believe that the environment of low interest rates will remain for some time. 38.1 percent expect it to continue for another three to five years. 27.3 percent believe it to remain for even longer than those five years.
As a reaction to the low interest rate environment, more investors have invested in precious metals and funds on those (40.2%) as well as shares and equity funds (32.9%). 25.5 percent have invested more money in real estate and real estate funds. 12.8 percent have reduced their investment in savings books.

Most investors are not planning to make further adjustments to their portfolios. In each asset class, more than three fourth of investors say, they do not plan to increase their exposure to this category. Eight percent plan to make further investments in real estate and real estate funds, 13 percent are still undecided. 2.2 percent want to increase their exposure to share and equity funds while 10.9 percent are still thinking about increasing their investment to this asset class. Investors are thus still cautious about investing on the stock market.