British investors have enjoyed highest returns in the world since First World War but they would have made even more if they had widened their horizons and invested globally. This is the conclusion of research, conducted for The Telegraph, that analysed a vast amount of stock market data spanning the world’s major economies over the past century.
Since 1914, the average investor in British shares has made a return of 5.7pc a year in “real” terms, after allowing for inflation. This is a healthy figure, and among the best shown on the map illustrating the returns for 20 of the world’s leading markets. But an investor who split his or her portfolio equally among each of the 20 countries would have made annual returns of 6.9pc after inflation, according to the research, which was carried out by Patrick O’Shaughnessy of O’Shaughnessy Asset Management, an American investment company, using exhaustive stock market data compiled by Elroy Dimson, Paul Marsh and Mike Staunton of the London Business School.
Only one country’s stock market has failed to deliver a positive real return since 1914 – Austrian investors who stuck to their home market made an average annual loss of 0.63pc.
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