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Interest in Digital Tech Growing Among Wealthy Investors: Morgan Stanley Poll

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An overwhelming majority of high-net-worth U.S. investors believe mobile technology has helped them and they’re increasingly using mobile devices and applications, according to the findings of the latest Morgan Stanley Investor Pulse Poll, released Wednesday.

But a significant number of the country’s wealthiest investors continue to have concerns about cybersecurity issues when using their smartphones and other mobile devices, the poll of 1,106 U.S. investors, age 25-75, with $100,000 or more in household liquid investable assets, found. A third of respondents had $1 million or more in investable assets.

A whopping 87% of high-net-worth investors felt mobile tech had positively impacted them, while 59% reported an increase in mobile tech use over the past year, 61% said mobile tech helped them manage their money and 58% said they gained control and organization thanks to such technology, according to the report. In addition, while 63% enjoyed learning about mobile tech, 44% felt it was important to “keep up with the latest mobile tech,” the report said. “Millennials are even more likely to view mobile technology as enjoyable (83%) and important (74%),” it said.

The poll also found that 82% of high-net-worth investors expected their investment firm to provide online access to account information, while 78% expected convenient and secure online account management, Morgan Stanley stressed while announcing the poll’s findings.

But enthusiasm for tech was “tempered a bit by mistrust and concern” about cybersecurity, Morgan Stanley reported. Forty percent of high-net-worth investors overall agreed at least a bit that they didn’t trust today’s mobile technology, although that percentage was much lower, at 26%, among high-net-worth millennials, the report said. Specifically, very few of the wealthiest investors were very confident in the security of their personal financial information online, although millennials were about twice as likely as high-net-worth investors overall to feel very confident that their financial info was secure online — 18% of millennials said this — and that they could protect that information (19%), Morgan Stanley said.

“There remains mistrust and concern regarding banking and investing online,” Rachel Wilson, head of Wealth Management Cybersecurity at Morgan Stanley, said in a statement. “However, with the proper controls in place, digital wealth management and banking can actually help reduce our clients’ risk of fraud.

“Clients underestimate the serious risks around physical paper. Tax returns, financial statements and personal checks can be a goldmine for fraudsters. When clients use digital offerings to access tax forms and statements, and to move money and pay bills, they can benefit from our strong authentication, encryption and fraud prevention technology.”

Regardless of their concerns, high-net-worth investors’ top industry picks for the coming year were tech and biotech, Morgan Stanley reported. Each was rated as a “good” investment pick by 50% or more of them (55% for tech and 50% for biotech), the firm said. Following those sectors were energy (46%), renewable energy (45%) and pharma (45%). Far down on the list were consumer discretionary (12%), insurance (15%) and entertainment (19%).

The poll was conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs Dec. 14, 2018, through Jan. 3, 2019, Morgan Stanley said.

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