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Survey: Wealthy U.S. investors worried after shutdown

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A recent national survey by PNC showed the wealthy of the country are having trouble being optimistic after the government shutdown.

Almost half of the country’s wealthy are less optimistic about the economy after October’s federal government shutdown and debt ceiling debate, according to the study by PNC Wealth Management, part of PNC Financial Services Inc.

Only 4 percent of those surveyed believed things would get better, and 76 percent said “governing by crisis” must change.

Those results were a stark change to a previous PNC survey taken before the shutdown, where 32 percent of wealthy investors said they were “very or somewhat optimistic” about the country’s economy, up from 28 percent in 2012 and 10 percent in 2011.

Even with the problems in Washington, D.C., 52 percent of respondents said they would not change the way they invest, but 47 percent said they would be more cautious.

“We consistently advise our clients to add equity exposure when uncertainty is high and to reduce exposure when confidence is extremely high,” said Thomas P. Melcher, executive vice president and managing director of Hawthorn, the family office unit of PNC Wealth Management. “We can clearly see from the survey that investor confidence was hurt by the shutdown, but we also see increased sophistication as evidenced by their intention to stay the course.”

The study, conducted in late September and early October, surveyed 923 adults ages 18 and over with $500,000 of assets available for investment and a minimum annual income of $150,000.

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