Since the stock market decline a year ago, there has been much talk of permanent decrease in investors' risk tolerance. Many investors' losses were staggering, goes the refrain, so their tolerance for risk will, for the foreseeable future if not a generation, be substantially lower.

Our hard data show otherwise. Average global monthly risk tolerance scores of advisers' clients in the U.S., Australia/New Zealand and Canada from January 2007 to December 2008 show a pattern of decline of only about three points (on a 0 - 100 scale) in each of these countries from earlier scores that ranged from a total of about 52 to about 57 points-less than a third of the standard deviation.

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