In all six countries we analyzed – Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Austria and the US – net acquisitions of financial assets increased significantly in the first half of 2020 (compared to H1 2019), ranging from 35% in Germany to a whopping 223% in Italy. The share of equities and investment funds increased considerably in all countries. Spanish and in particular Italian households turned from net sellers of equities and investment funds into ardent buyers.
Is this change just a deviation, triggered by extraordinary circumstances, or the beginning of a paradigm shift as more and more savers start to embrace riskier capital markets products following a decade of zero or even negative interest rates? Our survey gives a sobering answer: The return to uninspiring pre-crisis savings patterns looks quite likely.
The upshot: The pandemic seems to have less of a lasting effect on investment decisions than many observers assume. It appears many respondents see Covid-19 as a momentary shock that will go away, requiring no change to plans, routines or preferences because of it.