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The II Fear Index: Investors Get Gloomier — But More Productive

Asset managers and allocators reveal their biggest drop in economic optimism since II’s weekly polls began.

Institutional investors are increasingly pessimistic on the economy, as their concerns about government public health responses to the pandemic grow. 

Half of asset managers and allocators surveyed for this week’s II Fear Index said they are feeling less optimistic about the economy since last week. This is the largest loss of optimism since the II Fear Index’s inception in mid-April.  

Alongside that, 53 percent of investors surveyed said they are less optimistic than last week about their government’s stewardship of the economy. This is the first time since Institutional Investor began surveying investors that a majority said they are less optimistic on this matter week-over-week. 

But investors don’t want their government to solely focus on improving GDP: 58 percent said public health is a higher priority, as compared to 51 percent last week.  

The latest II Fear Index also surveyed investors on their work-from-home experiences thus far. For one third of respondents, personal productivity has increased. Twenty-two percent of respondents reported their personal productivity decreasing, and 46 percent said it remained the same.  

Meanwhile, 33 percent of investors said the quality of their written and analytical work has increased, while just 9 percent said it declined.  

Group work has been challenging for some investors as they work remotely: 36 percent said that they are less effective in working with colleagues and subordinates, while 11 percent said they have been more effective. Still, most respondents said their ability to work with others has remained unchanged.  

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For most investors, personal time management, scheduling meetings, and getting tech support from home are rarely challenging. However, 17 percent reported they often have difficulties with using online collaboration platforms like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, or Google Hangouts. Just less than half of respondents said that using these platforms is “seldom” difficult.  

Working from home won’t last forever. Fifty-four percent of survey respondents say they anticipate being back to the office by the end of October.  

More results from the II Fear Index poll continue below. To contribute to the index, please register here