Billionaires are holding mountains of cash, offering the latest sign that the ultra-wealthy are nervous about putting more money into today's markets. According to the new Billionaire Census from Wealth-X and UBS, the world's billionaires are holding an average of $600 million in cash each—greater than the gross domestic product of Dominica. That marks a jump of $60 million from a year ago and translates into billionaires' holding an average of 19 percent of their net worth in cash.
"This increased liquidity signals that many billionaires are keeping their money on the sidelines and waiting for the optimal moment to make further investments," the study said.Indeed, billionaires' cash holdings far exceed their investments in real estate. Their real-estate holdings average $160 million per billionaire, or about one-fifth of their cash holdings.
Simon Smiles, chief investment officer for Ultra High Net Worth at UBS Wealth Management, said that the billionaire families and family offices he talks to are focused largely on the same question: What to do with all their cash.
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-- By CNBC's Robert Frank