Share ownership on the decline

The number of Australians who own shares continues to fall but we still rank among the largest share owners in the world.

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About 36 per cent of adult Australians – 6.48 million people – have invested in shares directly or through managed funds, down from 38 per cent in 2012.

Market operator ASX said that is still one of the highest levels of share ownership in the world.

Total participation in the share market by retail investors has been in decline for the past decade, and the latest research shows more Australians are turning to international markets.

The latest study by ASX showed investors typically enter the market in their late 20s or 30s, and men are more likely to invest than women.

The number of investors trading online is on the rise at 58 per cent, outnumbering those using a full-service broker or adviser.

Direct investing continues to be favoured over indirect investments via managed funds, driven by a desire among investors for more control.

“As managed funds lost the visibility they once had in the marketplace, younger investors became less aware that these funds offered them a relatively affordable entry point to investing,” ASX said.

The report said only the most knowledgeable investors considered using managed funds as a strategy to diversify their portfolio.

THE TYPICAL AUSTRALIAN SHARE OWNER

* Tertiary-education man

* Trades predominantly through an online broker

AUSTRALIAN SHARE OWNERSHIP TRENDS

* 58 pct trade online

* 31 pct use a full-service broker/adviser

* 33 pct invest directly, down from 44 pct in 2004

* 10 pct invest indirectly, down from 32 pct

* 38 pct of men own shares directly, and 27 pct of women

* 39 pct of investors are aged 45-64

Source: ASX 2014 Australian Share Ownership Study

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