High net worth individuals (HNWI) have embraced cryptocurrencies and other digital assets, with 71% of wealthy individuals investing in digital assets according to a new survey.
Technology consulting company Capgemini released its 2022 World Wealth Report on June 14. It polled 2,973 global HNWIs, with 54% reporting a wealth band ranging from $1 million to $30 million and 46% reporting wealth of $30 million and over.
The survey asked about investment preferences for emerging asset classes such as digital assets, classifying them as cryptocurrencies, related exchange-traded funds (ETFs), non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and metaverse-related products.
Of the roughly one in seven wealthy individuals investing in digital assets, the highest concentration were under 40. More than nine in ten in this age group have invested in digital assets. The younger cohort said cryptocurrencies are their favorite investment, with crypto ETFs and metaverse products also highly desired.
Crypto does not make up the majority of portfolios however and on average, HNWIs have only allocated around 14% into “alternative investments” which includes crypto alongside commodities, currencies private equity and hedge funds.
Capgemini observed, however, the wealth management industry is seeing an influx of investments into digital assets and this has “increased the demand for educational capabilities.”
Nilesh Vaidya, the firm’s head of retail wealth management said:
“The influx of new investment avenues such as sustainable investing and digital assets is having a crucial impact on the wealth management industry. Wealth management firms must prioritize providing timely education around this trend to retain their customers.”
Some firms are already clued into this trend and are wanting the first-mover advantage into this niche sector by launching investment products targeted at the demographic.
Related: Wealth report: As old money procrastinates, young money goes crypto
Investment bank Morgan Stanley introduced exposure to Bitcoin (BTC) for its millionaire clientele in March 2021 with only those holding $2 million or more in capital able to invest.
Private banking clients for BBVA Switzerland were also given access to crypto trading and custody services, along with a similar offering from Wells Fargo in 2021.
The report comes after earlier research by Accenture which revealed 52% of wealthy investors in Asia held some form of a digital asset during the first quarter of 2022 making up, on average, 7% of the surveyed investors’ portfolios.
Similarly, Accenture also found that wealth management firms have been slow to adopt investment products with cryptocurrency or digital asset exposure, with a majority saying they have no plans to offer related services.