Belgian investors, too “shy”, not getting the returns they expect

Belgian investors are still cautious of the financial crisis, and are particularly cautious in investing.

This has prevented investors from achieving the yield targets they set themselves in 2016, according to an annual survey conducted by fund manager Legg Mason.

Nearly 10 years after the start of the 2008 financial crisis, 60% of Belgian investors say they are still being influenced by it at a higher percentage than their British (50%), Swiss (44%) or German (40 %) counterparts.

Thus, Belgian investors rank among the most fearful in Europe, with the share of liquid assets in their portfolios reaching 37%, a level higher than the European average (32%). “If we add to this the fact that 16% of Belgian investors’ portfolios are, on average, devoted to conventional bonds, the result is that 53% of portfolios are invested in unprofitable assets”, observes Eric Simonnet, “business development Director – Benelux” at Legg Mason.

This very defensive approach explains why the yield obtained on average in 2016 (+4.39%) by Belgian investors who participated in the survey remains below expectations (+6.14%). “To realise their ambitions, Belgian investors should diversify their portfolios and take a little more risk”, summarises Eric Simonnet.

According to the survey, a majority (53%) of Belgian investors are nevertheless more optimistic for the next 12 months, while 22% are even willing to take “a little or even a lot more risks next year”.

The Legg Mason survey was conducted among 15,300 people in 17 countries, including some 900 in Belgium, the latter having a median investment income of 30,000 euros.

The author: Michel DEURINCK

Michel Deurinck, born in Brussels in 1950, started his career in the Belgian civil service, dedicating over 30 years to public service. Upon retirement, he pursued his passion for journalism. Transitioning into this new field, he quickly gained recognition for his insightful reporting on politics and culture. Deurinck's balanced and thoughtful approach to journalism has made him a respected figure in Belgian media.

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