September 19, 2012

Investor Confidence in U.S. Markets Holds Steady at 65 Percent

~~CAQ's 6th Annual "Main Street Investor Survey" Releases in Conjunction with Washington, D.C. Forum~~

Washington, D.C. – Almost two-thirds of individual investors (65 percent) have at least some confidence in U.S. capital markets, an increase of four percentage points from 2011, according to the Center for Audit Quality’s (CAQ) 6th Annual Main Street Investor Survey.

“Confidence in domestic markets has held remarkably steady throughout the financial crisis,” commented CAQ Executive Director Cindy Fornelli. “Individual investors, as a group, have confidence in audited financial information released by public companies and believe that auditors are effective in looking out for investors’ interests.”

To Ms. Fornelli’s point, investor confidence in investing in U.S. publicly-traded companies held steady at 71 percent this year. Confidence dropped from 75 percent in 2010 to 70 percent in 2011. Since 2008, investor confidence in audited financial information has held steady at around 70 percent.

Other investor findings in this year’s survey include:

  • 70 percent of investors believe that the American economy will either stay the same or improve over the next year; only 20 percent  believe it will get worse.
  • 25 percent of investors expect their personal financial situation to improve, and 64 percent expect it to stay the same  over the next year
  • The four top economic concerns investors have are: not having enough money for retirement; not being able to afford health care if they or a family member are seriously ill or injured;  not being able to maintain their current standard of living, and fear of losing their jobs
  • Investors identified independent auditors, financial advisors and brokers, and audit committees as most effective in looking out for investors’ interests.
  • Confidence in capital markets outside the United States fell to a low of 35 percent (from 43 percent in 2011).

Investor confidence was the theme of the CAQ’s Investor Confidence Forum on September 19th in Washington, DC. After sharing the results of the Main Street Investor Survey, Cindy Fornelli participated in a panel discussion with:

  • Douglas Elliott, Fellow of Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution
  • David Gardner, Motley Fool Co-founder and Chief Rule Breaker
  • Gail MarksJarvis, Syndicated Financial Columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of Saving for Retirement (Without Living Like a Pauper or Winning the Lottery)
  • Dr. John Nofsinger, Finance Professor at Washington State University and author of The Psychology of Investing

Ben White, Wall Street Correspondent for Politico, served as the panel’s moderator.

A telephone survey of 1,003 investors was conducted July 17-23, 2012 by The Glover Park Group, with a margin of error +/-3.2 percent. Investors were defined as those with investments valued at $10,000 or more. The survey report and the complete questionnaire are available on the CAQ’s Web site at:

2012 Main Street Investor Survey
2012 Main Street Investor Survey Data

An archived video of the Investor Confidence Forum will be available on the CAQ’s website at www.TheCAQ.org.

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The Center for Audit Quality (CAQ) is an autonomous public policy organization dedicated to enhancing investor confidence and public trust in the global capital markets. The CAQ fosters high quality performance by public company auditors, convenes and collaborates with other stakeholders to advance the discussion of critical issues requiring action and intervention, and advocates policies and standards that promote public company auditors’ objectivity, effectiveness and responsiveness to dynamic market conditions. Based in Washington, D.C., the CAQ is affiliated with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. For more information, visit www.thecaq.org.