Allianz, who sell insurance and wealth management products, has issued its latest global wealth report. The preface begins with this comment:
It’s ten years since the eruption of the major financial crisis that almost caused the global financial system to collapse. What lessons have savers learned from this profound event? The answer is surprising and, at the same time, sobering.
Despite low interest rates, private investors in industrialized countries have, on average, invested around EUR 1 trillion of fresh savings in bank accounts each year since the outbreak of the financial crisis, more than in any other financial product. Last year a record sum of almost EUR 1.4 trillion was achieved. That means they held about EUR 33 trillion of their financial assets in the form of bank deposits at the end of 2016. Such investment behavior has paradoxical results. From this angle, banks are turning out to be the crisis winners, while savers are suffering severe losses due to zero interest rates. In 2016 alone, they are thought to have lost around EUR 300 billion owing to inflation, even though inflation was low.
Think about that for a moment: the world's wealthiest people are so lacking in faith in the world's financial markets that they'd rather hold €33 trillion in cash and lose money as a result.
Ignore the angle on the banks that Allianz makes.
What this really says is that the world's wealthiest do not believe the puff of neoliberalism.
Nor do they believe that there is anything very entrepreneurial going on out there.
And they most certainly don't believe current market valuations and so they're actually withdrawing from markets.
For once they may have got something right.