Advisors to the world’s wealthiest expect an economic slowdown to begin before the year is out, according to a recent survey.
Fifty-five percent of family offices believe a market downturn will occur by 2020, according to a survey by UBS and Campden Wealth Research of principals and executives in 360 family offices around the world, with 36% of them based in North America.
And 94% believe the deterioration of relations between the U.S. and China will have a major impact on the economy by the end of the year, UBS says.
“Family offices are cautious about geopolitical tensions, and there is a widespread sense that we’re reaching the end of the current market cycle,” Rebecca Gooch, director of research at Campden Wealth, says in a statement.
To prepare, many family offices are starting to take defensive positions, according to the survey. Forty-two percent are moving more funds into cash and 22% are cutting back on leverage exposure, UBS says.
Family offices are also looking at direct investments in real estate or private equity, according to John Mathews, Americas head of private wealth management and UHNW at UBS.
Real estate on average returned 11% over the 12 months prior to the survey, which was conducted during the first and second quarter this year, UBS says.
Private equity was the best-performing investment class for family offices in North America, delivering an average return of 16% for direct investments and 12% for funds-based investing, according to the survey.
The average North American family office portfolio had a 5.9% return, UBS says.