October 25, 2017

Survey: Main Street Investors Show Record-High Confidence in US Capital Markets

Investors are closely watching the actions of Washington policymakers, CAQ report reveals

Washington, DC – US investor confidence has reached record heights, according to the Center for Audit Quality’s (CAQ) 11th Annual Main Street Investor Survey. Eighty-five percent of investors expressed confidence in US capital markets for 2017, an all-time high for the survey. When asked about upcoming investing patterns, investors in the survey noted actions by the White House and Congress as most likely to affect their decisions in the next year, followed closely by changes to US tax policy.

“Main Street investor confidence soared to a new high in our survey this year,” said Cindy Fornelli, CAQ executive director. “Investors place strong trust in America's market system, while also having high expectations and closely watching policy debates in Washington. The administration and Congress should heed our survey's list of investor concerns, which is topped by the growing national debt and the threat of cyber-attacks on the financial markets.”

Additional findings from the survey:

  • Eighty-three percent of investors have confidence investing in US publicly traded companies, a record high.
  • Confidence in markets outside the US also rose sharply to 54 percent, up from 42 percent in 2016.
  • Seventy-eight percent of investors say they are confident in audited financial information released by publicly held companies, up from 75 percent in 2016.
  • Investors expressed exceptional degrees of confidence in the ability of external auditors (84 percent), audit committees (82 percent), and stock exchanges (82 percent) to fulfill their investor protection roles.

“The CAQ is pleased that independent auditors were again named as the most trusted entity looking out for investor interests,” Fornelli said. “In light of these findings, we encourage regulators and policymakers to maintain important investor protections and encourage companies and boards to continue the positive trend of voluntarily disclosing more information to investors.”

The entire survey results are available on the CAQ’s website.

Since 2007, the CAQ has commissioned an annual survey of US retail investors. Each year, the Main Street Investor Survey measures confidence in US capital markets, global capital markets, audited financial information, and investing in publicly traded companies.

Methodology

This telephone and online survey of 1,001 investors was conducted from September 20-September 27, 2017. The margin of error is +/- 3.1 percent with 95 percent certainty.

About the CAQ

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 CPAs. For more information, visit www.thecaq.org.