Most investors are ‘going digital’, with new research revealing that 56% of those surveyed make investments online.
The survey commissioned by the Competition & Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) reveals that almost 80% said they invest for better long-term returns on their money.
Meanwhile, almost half were motivated to invest due to current low interest rates.
The research shows that 11% of those with investments were shown to hold some kind of crypto-asset or cryptocurrency, such as Bitcoin.
This increases to 25% among those aged 25-34, making this the most popular age group for crypto-assets and cryptocurrencies.
Stocks and shares were the most popular investment option for 19%, with Government or corporate bonds as the second most popular asset.
When asked about where they go to find information about investing, 62% of consumers said they use online resources, such as online banking or investment websites, financial news websites, blogs and social media.
This is in contrast with 38% who would go to an advisor in a bank or other type of investment company.
30% said they would look for information from a friend or family member, while 28% would go to an investment broker for information.
The CCPC’s research also showed that online resources were much more likely to be used by those aged under 35.
36% of those in that age group said they would use online sources such as financial news or government sites, 32% said they would use social media and 28% said they would use a bank or investment company website.
Meanwhile, the survey shows that for those aged under 35, online investing options are more popular.
36% said they would use an online trading platform, such as eToro, or XTB, while 29% said they would use an online financial services provider, such as Revolut.
In contrast, just 22% said they would choose to invest through a bank or investment company and only 10% would use a broker.
The CCPC’s research also shows that 17% of investors admitted they do not understand what fees and taxes they need to pay on their investments, while 43% of investors said that they do not closely monitor the performance of their investments.
Those aged under 45 and men were more likely to say that they closely monitor the performance of their investments.
Commenting on the research findings, Grainne Griffin, Director of Communications with the CCPC, said while investing online may be easier and sometimes cheaper, they are urging consumers to do their research before investing any money.
“It is important that consumers are aware that investment products can often be highly complex, so it is essential consumers understand they type of product they are investing in.
“Additionally, consumers must also be aware that while they may see the potential for better returns in crypto-assets, the risks can also be much higher compared with traditional products, increasing the probability of losing some or, indeed, all of their money,” she said.
The CCPC is asking consumers to take the following steps before investing:
– Seek expert financial advice to make sure you are making the best financial decisions for your needs. Investment products can be complex, so it is important to understand what you are signing up for.
– Make sure to invest with a regulated financial advisor, broker, bank or investment firm, otherwise you will not have access to the investor compensation scheme if they go out of business or the Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman.
– Assess your risk appetite so that you understand your attitude to risk before investing and make sure that the investments you choose reflect your risk appetite. If you deal with a regulated entity they will carry out a risk assessment before you invest.
– Remember that, crypto-assets (including cryptocurrencies) are largely unregulated by the Central Bank, or other central banks in the EU. This means that not only is there a higher risk that you could lose your money, but you have little or no consumer protections.
– Taxes and fees may apply so make sure you fully understand how much you will have to pay in fees and taxes before you invest.