Half empty or half full, either way it’s low.
The CFA Institute/Edelman Investor Trust Study 2013 found only half (53%) of investors trust investment management ﬁrms to do what is right. That compares with 68% of Hong Kong investors and 39% of UK investors.
Retail investors in the United States are also less trusting of the industry than their institutional counterparts (51% vs. 61%, respectively).
More troubling is the fact that ﬁnancial services is the industry least trusted by the general population, coming in behind telecommunications (56%), automotive (57%) and pharmaceuticals (60%), among others.
The reasons are familiar.
“This limited amount of trust reﬂects a lack of confidence in the broader ﬁnancial services industry,” the report says. “Hit by the shock of the 2008 financial crisis and ongoing scandals around money laundering, rogue trading, rate manipulation and insider trading, the industry lost the faith of its key constituents — the clients, investing public, and other participants that help it function on a day-to-day basis.”
But not all is lost. Interestingly, the study notes that despite investors’ lack of trust in the investment industry, they remain conﬁdent in the capital markets. Nearly three in four investors say they are optimistic about their fair opportunity for proﬁt or loss in capital markets. And this is true worldwide: 74% of investors in Hong Kong, 70% of investors in the United States, and 69% of those in the United Kingdom express that belief.
“On the surface, these numbers are high," the report says. "But intensity is low — just 19% of investors ‘strongly agree’ they have a fair opportunity to profit by investing in capital markets.”
Calling the low intensity a “warning sign,” the authors note the amount of distrust in the investment management and, more broadly, the ﬁnancial services industries could be infecting the capital markets.
“If this continues," they conclude, "it could damage the markets’ role as an essential component of economic vitality.”
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