BUSINESS

Many investors afraid to change strategy from low-income investments: CIBC poll

02/05/2013 04:00 EST | Updated 04/06/2013 05:12 EDT
MONTREAL - A new poll suggests low interest rates have been taking a toll on investors, but more than half were afraid to make changes to increase their returns.

The CIBC poll found that 54 per cent of investors with low-yield investments said they weren't considering changes, with the main reason being "too risky."

The bank noted that as a result of this fear, many investors have simply been parking their money in investments that often guarantee a return that's less than inflation.

The survey also found that 42 per cent of those polled said they were not satisfied with the returns they were generating in their investment portfolios.

CIBC says with an extended period of rock-bottom interest rates and people living longer, investors may reach a point where they need a new strategy and a chat with a financial adviser.

Only 10 per cent of those polled said they were "completely satisfied" with the income their investments were generating.

"People waiting for higher returns could be waiting a heck of a long time," said Patrick O'Toole, CIBC's vice-president of global wealth.

But O'Toole said there are dividend stocks and balanced funds, for example, that can boost investment income.

"Generally, you want to see some return well above inflation because you're protecting your purchasing power," he said from Toronto.

"Sitting on cash is not an effective strategy because you are basically guaranteeing that your earning return is not keeping up with inflation. You have to look for alternatives out there," O'Toole said.

He said there's still a lot of merit to a diversified portfolio, but noted that during the financial crisis in 2008-2009, all types of investments took a hit.

"That shook a lot of people's faith in diversification. I don't think it should shake their faith permanently."

As a result, investors suffered a lot of "psychological damage" and they have to try to get over it and adjust to lower growth, he added.

"Gone are the days of bond yields at six or seven per cent and stock returns annually in the double digits. It is a new environment and it doesn't mean you should be sitting on cash waiting for rosy days again."

There's always some hesitancy when you see the headline 'Risk,' but there have still been solid returns in both the equity markets in both Canada and the U.S., he said.

The online poll was conducted by Leger Marketing from Dec. 21 to Jan. 4 and surveyed 1,541 English and French-speaking Canadians with an investment portfolio for retirement.