Investors trust auditors, but confidence in US markets drops

Audited financial information also gets high marks.

Public company auditors remain the group investors trust most to protect their interests, but investors' confidence in U.S. capital markets and U.S. public companies has dropped in the past year, according to a survey report published recently by the Center for Audit Quality (CAQ).

Respondents to the Main Street Investor Survey kept independent auditors of publicly traded companies in the top spot among entities they trust most to look out for investors. More than four in five (81%) respondents said they have some, quite a bit, or a great deal of trust in public company auditors.

In descending order, other most-trusted groups were independent audit committees of public companies (80%), financial analysts (79%), stock exchanges (77%), financial advisers and brokers (75%), and credit rating agencies (71%).

The survey performed on behalf of the CAQ, which is affiliated with the AICPA, went in late August to 1,100 adults who are primary or shared decision-makers in their households' finances and who possess at least $10,000 in investments.

Among those investors, confidence in U.S. capital markets dropped 11 percentage points to 74% from the all-time high posted in the 2017 survey. Investor confidence in U.S. public companies fell five percentage points from 2017 to 78%.

Three-quarters of respondents to the Main Street Investor Survey said they have some, quite a bit, or a great deal of confidence in audited financial information. Although that's down three percentage points from the previous year, it's the third time in the past five years that this confidence metric has measured exactly 75%.

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