Using active portfolio management, diversification, risk management, and consolidation of financial assets, the wealthiest U.S. investors are acting as large institutions do, according to a study from Merrill Lynch & Co. and Cap Gemini Ernst & Young.

The study, released Wednesday, indicated that in volatile markets, high-net-worth investors rely on professional advice and are active in rebalancing their diversified portfolios.

Wealthy people were among the first to move from equities to fixed-income products, as reported in the "2002 Cap Gemini Ernst & Young World Wealth Report." More recently, the wealthy have shifted back into equities.

These investors are pursuing sophisticated investment products, including separately managed products, real estate investment trusts, precious metals and alternative investments, as well as "investments of passion" like art, wine, antiques and collectibles, the 2003 study said.

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