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Investors, Business Owners Eye Asset Reshuffle As US Polls Loom - UBS Survey

Editorial Staff, 21 October 2020


Investors are already thinking of changing their portfolios before the US election and others say they're prepared to adjust where they stand once the result is known.

A study by UBS of more than 4,000 investors and business owners says that most of them are thinking of changing asset allocations – such as putting money into healthcare – as the 3 November US Presidential elections approach.

The survey taken from 14 countries, polled in late September and early October, showed that 72 per cent of respondents are thinking of moving holdings before Election Day. Sixty-two per cent plan to make additional changes based on the result. 

National opinion polls so far give Democrat challenger Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris the edge over Donald Trump and Mike Pence. (Editor's note: the usual caveats apply to polls, and investors must understand the positions in "swing states" that bear on which party picks up the most Electoral College votes, a crucial point in the 2016 result.)

The UBS study said that 66 per cent of investors are thnking of allocations to the healthcare sector over the next six months, while 62 per cent are mulling 5G networks and 56 per cent are looking at investments in a “green recovery.”

Some 55 per cent of respondents consider their home region to be an attractive investment, the most popular choice globally. 

Some 75 per cent of respondents say that they want more contact with their advisor. 

In Asia, 55 per cent of investors are expressing optimism on the economic outlook in their own region over the next 12 months, in line with the global average. They are also more likely to adjust their portfolios around the US election. Eighty per cent are considering doing so before the vote and 65 per cent are planning to do so afterwards. 

UK respondents seem more worried about the top concerns (COVID-19, Brexit, national debt) than other areas, and are less optimistic about their own region’s stocks over the next six months. 

European respondents outside Switzerland voice above-average optimism on their own region’s economy over the next 12 months. Fifty-eight per cent say they are optimistic versus 55 per cent globally. Compared with their international peers, European investors are more likely to be planning to adjust their portfolios after the US elections, with 65 per cent saying they will do so. 

As for the Swiss, investors’ optimism on their own region’s economy and stocks has increased by the highest margin globally. Forty-four per cent are optimistic on their region’s economy over the next 12 months, up from 32 per cent three months previously, and 54 per cent are upbeat on their region’s stocks over the next six months, up from 42 per cent. 

US investors’ optimism over their region’s short-term economic and market outlook has increased by the second biggest margin globally. Fifty per cent are optimistic on the economy, up from 41 per cent three months prior, and 55 per cent are optimistic on stocks, up from 44 per cent. 

Finally, in Latin America, investors are the most likely to express a positive short-term outlook, with 62 per cent optimistic on their own region’s economy and 60 per cent optimistic on their own region’s stocks.

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