Investors worldwide are confident in their own investment knowledge. Maybe too confident.
A recent international study from London-based Schroders found that most investors have faith in their own ability to invest. But when asked, most were unable to identify what an investment management company does. And many of these investors are electing to do their own research instead of seeking an advisor before making investment decisions.
In Schroders’ 2016 “Global Investor Study,” 87 percent of respondents claimed to have an average or above-average grasp of investing, yet just 37 percent were able to explain what investment management does.
Women were more likely to admit a less-than-average understanding of investments than men: 11 percent of men admitted to having a less-than-average understanding of investments, but 18 percent of women were willing to say the same.
Millennials, aged 18 to 35, were more likely to describe themselves as having a greater understanding than the average investor, with 61 percent feeling this way, compared with 45 percent of older investors. Millennials were also less likely than older investors to be able to identify what an investment manager does—only 31 percent of them could answer correctly, versus 41 percent of older investors.
Investors, especially younger ones, appear to be turning toward finding and researching investment information for themselves. While 49 percent of all investors and 51 percent of millennials said that they would consult a financial advisor the next time they need to make an investment decision, those numbers were only slightly ahead of the numbers of those who said they would research their investment decisions on the web instead.
While 43 percent of respondents overall said they would speak to an advisor to improve their overall understanding of investments, 42 percent said they would prefer to spend more time conducting research via third-party financial websites—of those, 36 percent said they would take part in online guides and tutorials.
Despite their overconfidence, investors are eager to improve their investment knowledge, especially millennials. Eighty-nine percent of respondents said they wanted to learn more to help them improve their understanding of investments, and 94 percent of millennials said so.
Broken down by gender, 91 percent of women said they would like to learn more about investing, compared with 88 percent of men.
For the study, Schroders surveyed 20,000 end investors in 28 countries, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. between March 30 and April 25, 2016. Investors were defined as those who planned to invest at least £10,000 in the next 12 months and who had made changes to their investments within the past five years.