Ultra-Rich Tiger 21 Stockpiles Cash as U.S. Economy Fears Grow

A group of multimillionaire investors in the U.S. are hoarding cash at unprecedented levels.

Tiger 21, a club of more than 800 investors, reported Thursday that its members have raised their cash holdings to 19% of their total assets on concerns over the economic consequences of the covid pandemic in the U.S. That’s up from about 12% since the start of the pandemic. About a quarter now expect the crisis to continue until the end of next June, the group said.

“This rise in cash is an extraordinary change -- statistically, this is the largest, fastest change in asset allocation Tiger 21 has seen,” said Michael Sonnenfeldt, chairman of the club, whose participants typically have more than $100 million in assets. “In trying to build resources prudently, members have gained liquidity and will not immediately reinvest in those areas in order to keep and build cash to weather this storm.”

With almost 180,000 coronavirus deaths, the U.S. is among the worst-affected nations from the virus. It endured the worst recession on record in the second quarter, and economists are increasingly warning about a prolonged slowdown if lawmakers fail to provide $1 trillion to $2 trillion in relief funds this fall.

The economic hit from the pandemic has failed to put a halt to rising stock prices. The S&P 500 Index closed at a peak on Wednesday, taking its rebound from a March low to 55% thanks to continued support from the Federal Reserve and strength from tech companies catering to people stuck at home. That’s also led to about 84% of chief financial officers now seeing equities as too expensive, according to a quarterly survey conducted by Deloitte LLP -- the second-highest level in the decade since the accounting and consulting firm began collecting the data. Only 2% of respondents said U.S. stocks look cheap.