A member survey by Tiger 21, a peer-to-peer learning group for high-net-worth investors, shows they continue to have concerns about the economy.

Their exposure to public equities averages 21%, well below the historic range of 30% to 35%, and they have 14% of their portfolios in cash, compared to the traditional range of 5% to 10%.

“While the markets have certainly come a long way from the doldrums of the recession, members remain wary about whether we are in the clear or there will be more bad news,” said Michael Sonnenfeldt, chairman and founder of Tiger 21.

“Tiger 21 members have been registering levels of cash in the low teens for a few years and in the mid-teens for the last two years, indicating deep concerns about the recovery and not wanting to get caught with too little cash if there is another downturn,” Sonnenfeldt added.

Among those high-net-wealth investors living solely on their accumulated wealth, they have reduced their annual spending from 3% of assets to 2% of assets, and increased their cash holdings from 12% to 14%, Tiger 21 found.

Members also have an average of 23% of their portfolios in real estate, 9% in private equity and 9% in hedge funds.

“Historically, [exposure to hedge funds] had been in the 10% to 12% range in the last half dozen years but fell dramatically in the 2008 downturn,” Sonnenfeldt said. “This was amplified by liquidations as members were seeking to limit risk and build cash. Some members may now perceive additional opportunities for alternative investments to outperform the public markets.”

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