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TNS Reports a Record Breaking Year for Wealthy Americans; Largest Ever Increase Lifts Number of High Net Worth Households to New Level Says Latest Study.

GREENWICH, Conn. -- The number of households with more than one million dollars ($1MM) in net worth (excluding primary residence) has risen to a record high as well at a record rate, according to new research released today by TNS Financial Services, a division of TNS, one of the world's largest market information companies.

According to the latest Affluent Market Research Program (AMRP), TNS' annual survey of wealthy U.S. households, the number has shot to 8.2 million as of mid-2004, a 33 percent increase over last year. The addition of two million households to the high net worth market is the largest increase ever recorded by the study, which began monitoring this group in 1981.
Number of U.S. Millionaire Increase from
 Households prior year
 (In millions)
 -------------------------------------------------------
 2004 8.2 33%
 -------------------------------------------------------
 2003 6.2 13%
 -------------------------------------------------------
 2002 5.5 -9%
 -------------------------------------------------------
 2001 6.0 -4%
 -------------------------------------------------------


The study reports that long term investing, rather than other wealth-generating activities, is the reason behind the rise. Positive returns on investments in the U.S. stock market have largely driven the substantial increase from June 2003 to June 2004. During that period, the NASDAQ increased 25 percent, the DJIA 15 percent and the S&P 16 percent.

"While real estate investments helped bolster numbers last year, what has paid off for the high net worth market is this long term approach. These households are older, half are retired, and they are extremely smart about investing," said Jeanette Luhr, Manager of the AMRP for TNS Financial Services.

In fact, nearly half (48%) of the individuals surveyed reported little change in their investment approach since the market's collapse over the last few years, and 46 percent took a 'wait and see approach' -- making few changes to their portfolios.

"The average investor may have exited the market post 9/11, but these households simply stayed the course, letting their investments regain value over time. This strategy is starting to pay off," continued Luhr. "Some investment losses were off-set by gains in real estate, but for the most part, ownership of stocks and bonds remained fairly stable."

According to the report, despite the growth in numbers, confidence remains flat. About half of high net worth households feel their overall financial situation will be the same over the next six months, and 38 percent feel that it will get better.

"After several years of roller coaster rides on the stock market, the ongoing war, and the impact of the election, high net worth individuals remain concerned about their future," concluded Luhr.

About the TNS Financial Services Affluent Market Research Program

The Affluent Market Research Program (AMRP), offered exclusively by TNS Financial Services, is the "gold standard" syndicated study of the U.S. wealth markets. AMRP is based on a representative national sample of approximately 3,300 households with a net worth of $500,000 or more, excluding primary residence. The mail-based survey includes an over-sample of households with investable assets of $1 million or more.

About TNS

TNS is one of the world's leading providers of market information. The company delivers strategic market measurement, analysis, insight and advice to many of the world's largest organizations and most recognized brands. TNS' research helps its clients better understand the needs and wants of their customers, and its capabilities span market segmentation, advertising and communications, new product development, brand performance and stakeholder management. The company is also one of the leading providers of social and political polling. From its global network that spans 70 countries who together conduct research in more than 110 countries, TNS allows for local expertise and knowledge to be combined together with internationally consistent information and analysis.

TNS is listed on the London Stock Exchange (TNN) and is a trade mark of Taylor Nelson Sofres plc. Further information can be found on http://www.tns-global.com.
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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Nov 15, 2004
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