22 Jul 2020

Investor confidence appears immune to Covid-19 - FMA

3:35 pm on 22 July 2020

Covid-19 has done little to dampen investor confidence, according to a survey by the Financial Markets Authority.

New Zealand's share market immediately fell two percent on opening

Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

In the second part of its annual survey, taken during alert level 3, more then two-thirds of respondents reported losses on their investments due to the pandemic, two-fifths of whom experienced losses between 5 and 10 percent.

Just under a half of those surveyed expressed concern about the impact of Covid-19 has had on their personal finances.

Despite this, more then 70 percent of respondents were optimistic the pandemic would soon pass and the financial markets would recover.

FMA manager for investor capability, Gillian Boyes, said the results were driven by early signs in May that the markets were bouncing back from the historic lows seen in March.

"Hopefully people are understanding that investments do go up and down over time, because of the timing of this survey people were seeing some recovery in their balances.

"So even though they had lost money they were seeing it track up and you saw a lot more optimism in the market."

The survey also asked respondents about their KiwiSaver accounts.

Of the 12 percent of KiwiSaver members who switched funds in the past year, 43 percent did so after Covid-19 began to have an effect on the markets.

One in five moved from growth to conservative or cash funds.

Boyes said the survey also showed nearly a quarter of respondents were planning to increase investments of make new ones in the year ahead.

Half of those planning a new investment were considering shares, Boyes said.

"Young people in particular are interested in shares, we put that down to the growth of some of the new online platforms that exist that are making shares much more accessible and affordable for young people."

Boyes said one of positive results that came out of the survey is that pandemic has led more people to become engaged with their personal finances.

"We know that losses are much more of interest to people, people are twice as likely to fear a loss as they are to celebrate a gain for instance.

"So when you do see a big loss like that you do start looking at your balance more and you can see that in this survey."

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