Report: HNW investors - Investment styles & decision making


Report summary

How do HNW investors make decisions?  What are they trying to achieve and how do emotional investment styles influence the ways in which wealthy individuals interact with financial advisors and wealth managers?

Using research conducted with UHNW investors in the US, this research report explores the impact that stereotype profiles like Bulls and Bears have on investment decisions and asset allocation.  Importantly, it argues that a vital third profile is typically missed by the wealth management industry – the Owls.

Whilst Bulls are supposedly positive, upbeat and speculative, Bears, on the other hands, are generally more orthodox, conservative and cautious.  Owls exist between these two extremes and have long been overlooked by wealth management professionals.  Owls are consultative and self-assured, yet reflective.  They’re pragmatic but open-minded.  They’re responsive yet realistic.

So, if you – or your wealth management clients – don’t identify with the Bulls or Bears, perhaps you should take a look at the Owls.


HNW investors, wealth management firms, investment managers, financial advisors.

Research process

194 UHNW investors from the US took part in this survey, which forms part of a wealth management research programme that began in 2011. Survey participants were drawn from across the US, and the research sample included:

  • Investors with an average personal wealth of USD13.2m
  • Avg. annual income of survey participants was USD567,000, with individuals worth more than USD10m having an average income of $1.1m per annum.
  • UHNW participants had an average age of 56
  • 77% of the respondents were male, however, the average wealth of females taking part was nearly double that of males.
  • To date, 766 UHNWs have taken part in the survey programme, providing a very special window into the belief systems and requirements of an extremely difficult-to-reach segment of wealth management clients.


Investor behaviour


SEI Private wealth management; Scorpio Partnership