The movement surprised more than one observer. In the midst of the first confinement, while the financial markets were experiencing strong turbulence, some French people had found their way to the stock market. Throughout 2020, the balance of sellers and buyers of equities had been largely positive, while it was negative in the previous quarters, with the exception of the period of the French IPO games, in November 2019.
This return was all the more surprising as, “in the past, savers have often come at the wrong time, after upward movements in equities, which is not too wise. In France, economic and financial education is not as high as in other countries”notes Benoît de Juvigny, secretary general of the Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF).
Provided you are patient, shares are nevertheless among the best investments there are, with an internal rate of return (which takes into account the profitability of the investment, but also costs, taxation, etc.) of 15.1%. over forty years (1982-2022) and 8.8% over thirty years, according to the latest study (April) of the Institute of Real Estate and Land Savings.
The French generally remain very circumspect when it comes to investing in stocks. “After peaking at more than 6 million in the second half of the 2000s, the number of direct shareholders remains below 4 million today”, observes Philippe Crevel, director of the think tank Cercle de l’épargne. The 2008 financial crisis, then the debt crisis in 2011 and the ensuing market decline put a chill on French savers who were already reluctant to take risks.
The latest survey carried out by the Kantar Institute for the AMF shows that in March 2022 only 6.7% of French people aged 15 and over held shares directly, a stable level since the mid-2010s, but which “Nevertheless hides an important development which is that of a rejuvenation of the population of individual shareholders”underlines the AMF.
“Take more risks”
Since 2019, the proportion of under 35s in the total investor population has been on the rise. This is particularly the case for 15-24 year olds. “Never, since the start of the SoFia investigation (kantar)their weight had never been so high: more than 10% of shareholders declared in March 2022”observes the AMF. “The new generation seems more inclined to take more risks, not to mention that investing in stocks is becoming more fun with the appearance of “neobrokers” (online brokers) »notes Mr. Crevel.
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