Mutual fund-owning households' willingness to take investment risk remained at the same subdued levels seen since the 2008 financial crisis, according to an annual survey of U.S. households by the Investment Company Institute.

The study found that three in 10 mutual fund-owning households were willing to take substantial or above-average risk for financial gain in May 2013, compared with 36% in May 2008. Similarly, older investors continued to report a much lower tolerance for investment risk overall as opposed to their younger counterparts.

"The dramatic stock market decline from October 2007 to March 2009 appears to still linger in investors' minds," says Sarah Holden, ICI senior director of retirement and investor research in a statement. "Nevertheless, equity mutual funds continue to be the most commonly owned type of fund, held by 86% of mutual fund-owning households."

The survey also found that more than 96 million individual investors owned mutual funds, and while mutual funds are the most commonly held type of fund, 5.7 million households reported owning ETFs and 3.8 million households reported owning closed-end funds in 2013. 

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