Fidelity Predicts Ongoing ETF Allocation Growth

More than four in 10 (43%) high-net-worth investors plan to increase allocations to exchange-traded funds (ETFs) over the next 12 months, according to a Fidelity poll.

While over one-third (35%) of high-net-worth individuals say they invest in ETFs for broad market exposure, about one in four (27%) say they don’t invest in ETFs because they need to learn more about the fund species. Many investors are still trying to understand the complexities of ETFs, especially the concepts of liquidity and trading of ETFs.

Beyond ETF usage, the poll results suggest investors continue to feel cautious about the state of the U.S. and global economies, despite continued signs of improvement (see “Doll Says U.S. Economy at Turning Point”). A strong majority of respondents (71%) feel the economy is headed in the right direction, while 29% say it’s stagnant or headed in the wrong direction. Meanwhile, 62% of investors also believe a market correction—when a major index declines by at least 10% from a recent high—is likely to happen sometime in the second half of 2014.

Another 28% of respondents say most investors are likely to reinvest into the equity markets if current growth continues, and 12% say that will be the case if interest rates go up. Approximately one out of every four investors (25%) is holding no cash on the sidelines, Fidelity says.

And while 59% of investors prefer to grow their portfolio by investing in domestic equities, only 18% of respondents have an interest of investing into international equities. This disparity could challenge investors striving to properly diversify their portfolios, Fidelity warns, especially as volatility concerns persist (see “Addressing Home Country Bias in DC Plan Investments”).