Morgan Stanley | News Release — Morgan Stanley announced that when it comes to developing and investing in energy, high net worth investors say “all of the above.”

While they favor development of alternative energy sources over traditional ones, a majority wants to see the Keystone Oil Pipeline completed (68%) and supports hydraulic fracturing (fracking) of shale deposits to develop oil and gas resources (53%).

These are key findings of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management’s semi-annual Investor Pulse Poll, which surveys a national sample of investors with investable assets of $100,000 or more, a third of whom have assets exceeding $1 million.

These investors see a mix of traditional and alternative energy sources as being the top investment prospects for 2015, including natural gas (76%), solar (61%), petroleum (53%) and wind (52%).

While almost twice as many investors favor expanding development of alternative energy sources (58%) over traditional sources (29%), they are bottom-line focused when it comes to their own portfolios. Rate of return is cited by 91% as the top consideration when making an energy investment. However, they say energy independence (72%) and environmental impact (67%) are also significant considerations.

Investors show broad-based support for Keystone Pipeline

A majority of U.S. high net worth investors favor completion of the Keystone Pipeline (68%), and this is true across all but one of eight major metropolitan areas surveyed. Support is highest in energy center Houston (83%), followed by Atlanta (75%), Denver (69%), New York City tri-state (67%), Chicago (65%), Los Angeles (64%), and Boston (56%).

Only in San Francisco does a majority of surveyed investors oppose Keystone. There, only 46% support the project.

Wide variance in regional support for fracking

As might be expected, energy production centers Denver (73%) and Houston (71%) show the highest support among high net worth investors for fracking, followed by Atlanta (64%). While a majority (53%) of respondents supports fracking nationwide, it enjoys only minority support in New York City tri-state (48%), Los Angeles (47%), Boston (46%), Chicago (43%) and San Francisco (37%).

Majority says climate change is real

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of high net worth investors say climate change is having at least some impact on the planet, with 39% perceiving a great deal of impact. And, a substantial majority of 71% says that human activity is a contributing factor to climate change.

The Investor Pulse Poll surveyed 1,008 high net worth investors during the fourth quarter of 2014. High net worth investors account for 94% of total U.S. household investable assets by value, according to Federal Reserve data. Oversamples were obtained in the eight metropolitan areas cited.

Derick Lila
Derick is a Clark University graduate—and Fulbright alumni with a Master's Degree in Environmental Science, and Policy. He has over a decade of solar industry research, marketing, and content strategy experience.

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