A large majority of so-called high-net-worth individuals see income inequality as a top macroeconomic concern, according to a new study released by Morgan Stanley.
The survey of 1,008 clients with $100,000 or more of non-retirement financial assets to invest found that 79% agreed that the "increasing income gap between poor and wealthy Americans" was a top macroeconomic concern, while 77% of those with more than $1 million agreed with the statement.
Income inequality ranked fourth among concerns of the high-net-worth individuals nationally, behind the 86% citing increasing foreign conflicts, the 81% pointing to fears of terrorism in the U.S., and the 80% noting the U.S. government budget deficit.
The semiannual survey of the bank's wealth-management clients found that Los Angeles residents placed a higher emphasis on the issue, ranking inequality as the second-most-pressing macroeconomic concern, after fears of increasing foreign conflicts.
Among the Los Angeles high-net-worth residents surveyed, 77% said income inequality was a major concern, while 89% listed concerns about increasing foreign conflicts. Among those with $1 million or more to invest, 71% listed income inequality as a top concern and 89% listed fears of increasing foreign conflicts.
Morgan Stanley said those with $100,000 or more to invest made up 21% of U.S. households, while those with $1 million or more to invest made up 3.6%.
Overall, the survey found that the high-net-worth individuals expressed optimism about the U.S. economy: 76% said they felt "the national economy would be the same or better in the next 12 months," while 87% said they felt their local economy would be the same or improved.
Los Angeles residents surveyed were even more optimistic, with 84% saying they believed that the national economy would be the same or improve, and 86% saying they felt that way about the local economy.