Survey Shows Most Investors Believe Rates Will Rise
Harris Interactive Poll Shows Most Investors Believe Rates Will Rise, but Are Unaware of Impact on Bond Holdings
Bethesda, MD — June 26, 2003 — A survey conducted by Harris Interactive® on behalf of ProFund Advisors LLC finds that, although most U.S. investors (57%) believe interest rates will rise in the next two years, nearly two-thirds ( 65%) are unaware that rising rates generally have a negative impact on the value of bond investments.
"Investors have been retreating to bond funds throughout the bear market in equities, but this survey indicates that most are unaware of the risks posed to bonds by a possible rise in rates," said Michael L. Sapir, Chairman and CEO of ProFund Advisors, investment advisor to the ProFunds family of innovative indexed mutual funds. "The strong returns from bond-related investments in recent years have drawn investors seeking a safe haven. But interest rates are at historical lows, and bond investments are at risk, if they rise."
The second annual survey1 commissioned by ProFund Advisors and conducted by Harris Interactive, found that 57% of respondents who identified themselves as investors believe that interest rates will go up over the next two years, while only 6% believe rates will go down.
However, only 35% said they believe the value of bond investments decreases when rates rise. 27% said they believe the value of bond investments increases when rates rise, and the remaining 37% either said they didn't know the impact or that they believe the value of bond investments stays about the same if rates increase.
The survey shows investor awareness of interest rate risk little changed since April 2002 (30%), when the poll was first conducted for ProFunds.
"Just as the strong equity returns of the late 90s may have led individuals to a higher concentration in equities than was prudent, the environment of recent years may have led some individuals to overweight bonds without consideration of interest rate risk," said Mr. Sapir. "Investors who have not taken interest rate risk into account in structuring their portfolios may want to consult with a financial advisor to discuss appropriate protection of their investments from risks of a rate increase."
Professional and individual investors who believe interest rates will rise may want to investigate the Rising Rates Opportunity ProFund®. Rising Rates Opportunity ProFund is designed to benefit in rising interest rate environments, when bond investments are generally suffering losses.
The Rising Rates Opportunity ProFund seeks 125%, before fees and expenses, of the inverse of the daily price movement of the most recently issued 30-year U.S. Treasury Bond (the long bond), and may be used to seek profits or to hedge interest rate risk in a portfolio whose exposure to the long bond is deemed to have grown too great. This ProFund is subject to interest rate risk and should decrease in value when long-term interest rates fall.
More complete information on the Rising Rates Opportunity ProFund and other ProFunds, including a prospectus, is available at www.profunds.com.
With 77 public and insurance product funds, ProFunds is the nation's largest lineup of indexed mutual funds. Many of the innovations at ProFunds are designed to overcome the limitations of conventional index mutual funds. ProFunds does not restrict investors' abilities to react to financial or economic changes and exchange their investments from one ProFund to another, and imposes no transaction, entry or exit fees. Interested investors may call 1-888-PRO-FNDS, and financial professionals should call 1-888-PRO-5717.
The ProFunds present certain risks to investors, some that are not usually associated with mutual funds. There is no guarantee that any ProFund will achieve its investment objective. The Rising Rates Opportunity ProFund routinely employs leveraged investment techniques that magnify gains and losses and result in greater volatility in value. This ProFund invests in a variety of financial instruments and may be exposed to risks not commonly associated with bond investments. Investments in this ProFund are subject to market risks, including movements in prevailing interest rates. The investment return and principal value will fluctuate so that an investor's shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original cost.
For more complete information including charges, expenses and ongoing fees, interested please call 888-PRO-FNDS to receive a prospectus. Read the prospectus carefully before investing or sending money. ProFunds are distributed by ProFunds Distributors, Inc.
Harris InteractiveSM, via its QuickQuerySM online omnibus, fielded this survey between May 1-5, 2003, interviewing 2,378 U.S. adults (18+), of which 1,541 are investors. The results for the overall sample have a statistical precision of +/-3.2 percentage points and +/-3.9 percentage points for the investor sample within a 95% level of confidence. The overall data were propensity weighted to be representative of the total U.S. adult population.
About Harris Interactive®
Harris Interactive (www.harrisinteractive.com) is a worldwide market research and consulting firm best known for The Harris Poll®, and for pioneering the Internet method to conduct scientifically accurate market research. Headquartered in Rochester, New York, U.S.A., Harris Interactive combines proprietary methodologies and technology with expertise in predictive, custom and strategic research. The Company conducts international research through wholly owned subsidiaries—London-based HI Europe (www.hieurope.com) and Tokyo-based Harris Interactive Japan—as well as through the Harris Interactive Global Network of local market- and opinion-research firms, and various U.S. offices. EOE M/F/D/V
Tucker Hewes, Hewes Communications, Inc., (212) 207-9451, firstname.lastname@example.org