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Economic Challenges Affect Investor Confidence, But 7 in 10 are Still Upbeat About U.S. Companies, According to CAQ’s 5th Annual “Main Street Investor Survey”

Thursday, October 13, 2011

~~Findings Released in Conjunction with Investor Confidence Forum~~

Washington, D.C. – Despite continued economic worries, the nation’s individual investors still have confidence in U.S. publicly-traded companies, according to the Center for Audit Quality’s (CAQ) 5th Annual “Main Street Investor Survey.”

Seven in 10 investors (70%) indicated that they have at least some confidence in investing in U.S. public companies. While this represents a decline of five percentage points from 2010, a solid majority of American investors continue to express confidence in these companies. The investing public’s confidence in U.S. capital markets dropped as well, but stands at a reasonably solid 61 percent (down from 68 percent in 2010).

The CAQ has conducted this yearly survey of U.S. investors since 2007. “We are now in a unique position to track investor sentiment over a five-year span of time – one marked by challenging economic circumstances,” said CAQ Executive Director Cindy Fornelli. “The fact that 70 percent of investors still have confidence investing in publicly-traded companies indicates that investing remains a key strategy for Americans.”

The survey’s other findings include:

  • Confidence in capital markets outside the United States remains low; only 43 percent of investors have confidence in markets outside our borders. In fact, for the first time in the survey’s history, as many investors say they are not confident in foreign markets (42%) as say they are (43%). Investors’ main reasons for low confidence in non-U.S. markets include sovereign debt problems and economic troubles worldwide.
  • Confidence in audited financial information remained steady, declining one percentage point from 2010 (70 percent to 69 percent). 
  • Public company auditors, along with financial advisors and brokers and audit committees of publicly-traded companies, top the list of entities investors believe are looking out for investors’ interests.
  • The two financial concerns that keep investors up at night are not having enough money for retirement and not being able to afford health care if they or a family member are seriously ill or injured.

The telephone survey of 1,003 investors was conducted September 6-14, 2011 by The Glover Park Group. The margin of error is +/-3 percent. Investors were defined as those with investments valued at $10,000 or more. The survey summary and the complete questionnaire are available on the CAQ’s Web site at:

2011 Investor Survey Summary Highlights

2011 Investor Survey

The “Main Street Investor Survey” findings were a central focus of The Atlantic’s Investor Confidence Forum at the Four Seasons Hotel in Washington, D.C. today.Moderated by Jim Fallows, National Correspondent for The Atlantic, and underwritten by the CAQ, the Forum included interviews and discussions about the current state of investor confidence.

The archived webcast of the Investor Confidence Forum can be viewed here.

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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