Majority of ultra-wealthy expect recession next year

Fifty-five percent of the super-rich around the world are already preparing for a recession.

That’s according to a survey by Swiss wealth management company UBS of 360 global family offices with an average family wealth of $1.2 billion. Results showed 55% of family offices see a recession by 2020, and to mitigate risks, 45% are already adjusting their portfolios.

An escalated trade war between the U.S. and China has deepened fears of a recession, while the so-called yield curve inversion — a bond market phenomenon that has historically predicted an economic downturn — also intensified those concerns. Many notable investors and economists have recently warned of heightened recession risks.

Those families would do well to recognize that stocks actually rose during half of the last 14 recessions, and they were positive in 11 out of the 14 years leading up to a recession. The stock market was down a year later only three times following a recession. In general, stocks tend to perform about average in the year leading up to a recession, below average during a recession, and above average in the one, three, and five year periods following the end of a recession.

It’s these types of lessons that are often forgotten by investors when markets get choppy and emotions take control.

The chart below shows what total returns for the S&P 500 looked like leading up to, during, and after each recession from the Great Depression onward.

If you’re concerned about an upcoming recession and the impact it could have on your portfolio, check out our blog post, “Getting ready for the next recession.”

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