A third of UK investors have no exposure to emerging markets despite the majority expecting the region to be the top performer over both the medium and long-term.
An Ignis September survey of 521 direct retail investors found over 70% have less than 10% in emerging markets, even though 41% expected it to see the highest returns over three years.
Investors are even more convinced of an emerging markets supremacy over the next decade, with 45% believing the developing world would outperform all other regions over the period - far ahead of Asia Pacific (10%), US, Europe, UK and Japan.
It corresponds well to a recent Ignis survey of 180 advisers, which also found a strong preference for emerging markets, with 83% expecting a greater exposure to the sector to play a key role in closing pension deficits in the years ahead.
However, more than two-thirds of the direct investors surveyed believe they were either correctly exposed or underexposed to UK equities.
"Retail investors are often assumed to be behind the curve when it comes to identifying sources of future outperformance - but it is clear, by strongly tipping emerging markets, they are entirely in step with most investment professionals," Ignis Asset Management director Jonathan Polin says.
"This makes it all the more puzzling that such a high number of investors have inadequate exposure to the sector, although the survey suggests this anomaly could be about to change.
"What is arguably more disturbing is that so many investors believe their exposure to UK equities is either fine or, in some cases, too low. When nine in 10 advisers hold the opposite view, it is clear that there is a serious problem which needs to be addressed sooner rather than later."
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