swiss investment survey 2022
Swiss Investment Survey 2022

How Swiss Invest Their Wealth in 2022

July 19, 2022 - Raphael Knecht

Bank account balances, stocks, or cash under their mattress: A new moneyland.ch survey reveals how Swiss invest their money.

Residents of Switzerland set aside money with the hope of growing their wealth – either quickly with risky investments like cryptocurrencies, or slowly through established investments like the stock market. The 1500 participants in a representative moneyland.ch survey covering French- and German-speaking Switzerland were asked which investment vehicles they use. The results show that all residents of Switzerland have used at least one kind of investment vehicle.

Almost nine out of ten participants (89 percent) hold at least part of their money in private accounts (checking accounts). That makes private accounts the most popular investment vehicle. Even savings accounts are not as popular, with a lower 83 percent of residents holding wealth in them in spite of the fact that savings accounts are specifically designed for long-term saving. “Many bank customers do not understand the difference between private accounts and savings accounts. But even under the current low-interest regime, some banks pay higher interest on savings account balances,” says moneyland.ch CEO Benjamin Manz.

Banknotes under the floorboards

Holding cash at home is the third most popular option. However, 42 percent of Swiss only keep relatively small amounts of cash at home. Only 8 percent hold a large portion or even their entire wealth in cash. Residents who store cash in safe deposit boxes also often store relatively small amounts.

For the sake of comparison: Most of the residents who hold money in other investment vehicles either invest a mid-sized amount or nothing at all in these. Real estate is an exception: 14 percent of Swiss have invested large amounts or even their entire wealth in real estate. Only 13 percent of participants said that real-estate makes up just a mid-sized portion of their assets.

Retirement funds have gained in popularity

Retirement funds come next in the lineup of conventional ways to hold and invest wealth, with 65 percent of residents holding wealth in pension fund benefits. Additionally, 50 percent of residents have invested in pillar 3a retirement funds or asset management services, or in pillar 3a savings accounts. Retirement funds and retirement asset management services have seen an exceptional gain in popularity since last year. “The low-interest environment is likely the main driver behind that growth,” says Manz. “App-based pillar 3a retirement planning solutions have also made investing with the pillar 3a easier and cheaper.”

Retirement planning is particularly important for adults between the ages of 26 and 49. Even though the pillar 3a retirement saving solutions are one of the most widely used investment vehicles in Switzerland, only just over a third of young adults aged 18 to 25 hold any money in pillar 3a retirement funds or accounts. “Retirement planning is, understandably, not the highest priority for most young people,” observes Manz.

Swiss stocks continue to enjoy a small lead over foreign stocks. While 27 percent of participants say that they invest in Swiss stocks, a lower 22 percent invest in foreign stocks.

Cryptocurrencies are gaining ground

With a total of 18 percent of residents holding bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies in 2022, this alternative asset class is more popular than it used to be. Cryptocurrencies other than bitcoin, in particular, have made a major leap on the investment popularity scale since last year. “Cryptocurrencies have finally reached the average investor. But this speculative asset class remains a high-risk investment,” cautions Manz.

One fourth of the population (26 percent) now holds part of their wealth in gold. “That is likely a reaction to worldwide inflation,” comments Manz. Many investors consider gold to be a good shield against inflation. At the present time, gold is nearly as popular an investment vehicle as Swiss stocks (27 percent). But like cash, the majority of participants who said they invest in gold use it for just a small portion of their wealth. The same is true for other precious metals.

Table 1: Popularity of investment types

Investment type Percentage of the population
Private accounts 89%
Savings accounts 83%
Cash at home 71%
Pension funds 65%
3a retirement funds and asset management 56%
3a savings accounts 53%
Life insurance 37%
Real estate 35%
Swiss stocks 27%
Gold 26%
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) 24%
Cash in safe deposit boxes 23%
Actively-managed funds 23%
Foreign stocks 22%
Other precious metals 18%
Bonds 18%
Bitcoin 18%
Other cryptocurrencies 18%
Index funds (OTC) 17%
Structured products 17%
Medium-term notes 16%
Art 16%
Forex (foreign currencies) 12%
Crowdlending and P2P lending 11%
Contracts for difference (CFDs) 10%

 

Is investing a guy thing?

Across all investment vehicles, men are more likely to invest money than women (see table 2). The popularity of funds and stocks among men is also above average. 31 percent of men invest in ETFs, compared to just 18 percent of women.

“But it is possible that women will catch up in this regard over the coming years,” says moneyland.ch analyst Raphael Knecht. “We are currently seeing a number of movements which aim to motivate women to invest their money.”

Table 2: Investment habits by gender

Investment type Women Men
Private accounts 87% 92%
Savings accounts 82% 85%
Cash at home 67% 75%
Pension funds 62% 69%
3a retirement funds and asset management 54% 58%
3a savings accounts 51% 55%
Life insurance 33% 42%
Real estate 30% 40%
Swiss stocks 20% 35%
Gold 22% 32%
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) 18% 31%
Cash in safe deposit boxes 21% 26%
Actively-managed funds 17% 30%
Foreign stocks 16% 30%
Other precious metals 14% 22%
Bonds 14% 22%
Bitcoin 13% 23%
Other cryptocurrencies 11% 25%
Index funds (OTC) 11% 23%
Structured products 12% 22%
Medium-term notes 12% 20%
Art 13% 19%
Forex (foreign currencies) 7% 17%
Crowdlending and P2P lending 7% 15%
Contracts for difference (CFDs) 7% 13%

 

Older Swiss are less likely to invest

People above the age of 49 tend to invest less. In nearly every category, the number of participants between the ages of 50 and 74 years old who say they invest money is below average (table 3). This pattern is exceptionally notable with cryptocurrencies: Only 6 percent of residents older than 49 years old have invested in bitcoin. The average across all age groups is 18 percent.

Real estate is the only investment which older people are more likely to hold than young people, with 40 percent of adults in the oldest age group having real estate investments. The average across all age groups is 35 percent. “Real estate is an investment vehicle which also provides ongoing benefits in the form of living space without having to be sold,” comments Benjamin Manz from moneyland.ch. It is likely that many older residents own their own homes. “Many younger people cannot afford to invest in real estate because they do not have the capital required.”

Table 3: Investment habits by age

Investment type Age 18 to 25 Age 26 to 49 Age 50 to 74
Private accounts 87% 89% 89%
Savings accounts 85% 84% 82%
Cash at home 77% 68% 71%
Pension funds 40% 75% 62%
3a retirement funds and asset management 37% 69% 48%
3a savings accounts 33% 65% 44%
Life insurance 36% 43% 30%
Real estate 22% 35% 40%
Swiss stocks 24% 29% 25%
Gold 28% 31% 19%
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) 24% 28% 17%
Cash in safe deposit boxes 29% 27% 16%
Actively-managed funds 24% 25% 20%
Foreign stocks 21% 26% 18%
Other precious metals 23% 23% 10%
Bonds 16% 22% 14%
Bitcoin 20% 26% 6%
Other cryptocurrencies 23% 25% 5%
Index funds (OTC) 21% 20% 11%
Structured products 17% 20% 12%
Medium-term notes 17% 19% 10%
Art 16% 19% 12%
Forex (foreign currencies) 15% 17% 5%
Crowdlending and P2P lending 13% 15% 4%
Contracts for difference (CFDs) 13% 14% 3%

 

How do millionaires invest?

People with 500,000 francs or more of wealth are much more likely to make use of many investment types, including stocks, real estate, and funds, than the rest of the populace. A high 71 percent of millionaires invest in foreign stocks, compared to just 22 percent across the population as a whole. “Stock ownership increases with wealth,” says Manz. “But many conventional investment products from banks are increasingly finding their way to people with less personal wealth as well.”

Investment habits across the linguistic divide

Nearly all forms of investing are more widely used in German-speaking Switzerland than in the Romandie. Gold is owned by 28 percent of the population of German-speaking regions, compared to 21 percent in French-speaking regions. Retirement savings are also less commonly used as an investment vehicle by French-speaking Swiss.

Only life insurance and real estate are somewhat more popular in French-speaking regions. Life insurance is used as an investment vehicle by 40 percent of French-speaking Swiss, compared to 36 percent of their German-speaking compatriots.

Table 4: Investment habits by linguistic region

Investment type German-speaking Switzerland French-speaking Switzerland
Private accounts 89% 89%
Savings accounts 85% 80%
Cash at home 73% 64%
Pension funds 69% 53%
3a retirement funds and asset management 59% 50%
3a savings accounts 56% 45%
Life insurance 36% 40%
Real estate 34% 36%
Swiss stocks 28% 22%
Gold 28% 21%
Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) 25% 19%
Cash in safe deposit boxes 24% 22%
Actively-managed funds 25% 18%
Foreign stocks 23% 19%
Other precious metals 18% 17%
Bonds 19% 16%
Bitcoin 19% 15%
Other cryptocurrencies 18% 16%
Index funds (OTC) 18% 14%
Structured products 18% 13%
Medium-term notes 16% 13%
Art 16% 17%
Forex (foreign currencies) 13% 10%
Crowdlending and P2P lending 11% 10%
Contracts for difference (CFDs) 10% 9%

 

More on this topic:
Download the full Swiss investment survey 2022 here (German PDF)
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Editor Raphael Knecht
Raphael Knecht was an analyst and a specialized editor at moneyland.ch until the end of February 2023. Since then, he is supporting the editorial team as a freelancer.
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  • Free market research and trading signals