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UK’s wealthy - Still working and hungry for risk (1)

22 Apr, 2016 | John Schaffer

UK wealthy individuals are less likely to retire and are "still hungry for risk" as they reach old age, according to a report by UBS.

UK wealthy individuals are less likely to retire and are "still hungry for risk" as they reach old age, according to a report by UBS.

The report, UBS Investor Watch: Why should I retire?, suggests that HNWIs (high net worth individuals) continue to work after the age of 65, as they are passionate about the jobs they do. 89% of the respondents (UK investors with over £250,000 in investable wealth) said that they enjoy their jobs, with financial reward often being a secondary consideration.

The report shows that investors over 65 do not become risk averse, as they want to leave a legacy - either through philanthropic causes or to transfer wealth to subsequent generations. 61% of respondents cited leaving a financial legacy to their heirs as a main motivation for accumulating wealth, and 67% said that their knowledge and experience had equipped them to take calculated risks.

Nick Tucker, head of UK Domestic at UBS Wealth Management, tells PBI that the findings are surprising as, traditionally, risk appetite tends to diminish as investors get older.

"It's interesting purely because it's counter intuitive. Traditionally, as you get older, your risk profile reduces because you've got longer left to live. I think in many ways this is still true, but I think that if you are wealthier, you start to think about what the wealth is for and what you are trying to achieve.

"Your wealth becomes not so much your wealth, but your legacy's wealth." Tucker adds that older investors' aims can be oriented around goals such as providing funds for grandchildren to purchase property, or for education.

Tucker notes that the difference in asset allocation between different age demographics is changing less:

"Historically when you were young, you would have a risk heavy asset allocation, so predominately equities. As you get older, you would have more and more fixed income. That shift isn't happening any more."

Investor sentiment amongst older individuals in the UK may also have changed due to pension reforms brought in during 2015, which allowed people in Britain over the age of 55 to fully cash in their pension pots. Tucker comments on how the reforms have changed interactions with UBS clients:

"Pension reforms have resulted in a lot more conversations, because options have increased. The sophistication of advice that clients need has become significantly greater."

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