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Apex Fintech Solutions’ Data Highlights Millennials as the Most Active Traders in Fourth Quarter; Three-Year Lookback Shows Rise of Self-Directed and Wealth-Tech Traders

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Continuing to navigate recession fears, investors stay close to top stocks while taking a broad wait-and-see approach

Across all generational holdings, industrials and energy stocks attracted investors while TSLA is unseated by AAPL as top Gen X and Gen Z stock

DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Apex Fintech Solutions (“Apex”), a fintech powerhouse enabling seamless access, frictionless investing, and investor education for all, today released its Fourth Quarter 2022 Apex Next Investor Outlook (“Q4 ANIO Report” or the “report”). New to the report is a longer-dated lookback at investor activity over the last three years.

The report, which analyzes proprietary data of U.S.-based investors who trade through introducing brokers on the Apex Clearing platform as of December 31, 2022, sheds light on the top 100 stocks1 held by investors across four generations, with a special focus on the millennial and rising Gen Z2 demographics. The report is not intended as securities analysis nor as a recommendation to buy or sell any investment and is meant for informational purposes only.

Specific themes in the Q4 ANIO Report include:

  • Millennials Take Stage as the Big Movers – In Q4, Millennials executed nearly 56 million trades, more than any other generation and 1.4x the trades made by Gen X. Gen Z made the fewest moves overall, executing just over 9 million trades.
    • Of investors who did execute trades in Q4, while many of them involved selling, a large minority of their positions had no sales and were increased with additional buying activity.
    • Across generations, over 40% of positions that saw trading activity had buy activity only, with Gen Z having the lowest buy-only percentage of 37%.
  • Investors Hold Amid Continued Recession Concerns – The end of 2022 saw notable moves up and down the bottom half of the rankings, although the top stocks— Tesla Inc. (TSLA), Apple Inc. (AAPL),, Inc. (AMZN) and Microsoft Corp (MSFT)—barely budged.
    • Each generation had a different set of significant shifts, but real estate investment trust AGNC Investment Corp (AGNC) advanced on all 4 generation lists with an average move of 21.8.
    • Self-directed investors took a wait-and-see approach in Q4. A full 92% of their positions were held. Furthermore, 89% of self-directed investors executed no trades. On the other hand, managed investors generally held less and traded more.
  • Industrials and Energy Sectors Favored Across Generations While Services Lose Steam 
    • The two strongest performing sectors in Q4 across the generational rankings, were industrials and energy, with 76.5% and 76.9% of their respective tickers moving up and only 17.6% and 19.2% moving down.
    • Across all generational holdings, industrials were led by General Electric (GE), Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT), Raytheon Technologies Corp (RTX), Boeing Co (BA), and Delta Air Lines, Inc. (DAL), while energy stocks were led by namely Chevron Corporation (CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM), and followed closely by BP plc (BP), Energy Transfer LP Unit (ET), and Enterprise Products Partners LP (EPD).
    • The tickers that dropped the most in our Top 100 list include RIVN, which dipped an average of 27.8 spots across all generations, followed by AMC, which slipped an average of 11.8 spots. For three out of four generations — Gen Z, millennials and Gen X — businesses TTD, DKNG and RBLX also dropped the most, -27.7, -18.7, and -18.3, respectively.
  • Long-Time Leader TSLA Overtaken By AAPL – After holding the number-one spot on the Top 100 Stocks, Tesla Inc. (TSLA) was finally unseated by Apple Inc. (AAPL) for Gen X and Gen Z. For Gen X, TSLA spent nine consecutive quarters in the top spot; for Gen Z, TSLA had a four-quarter streak.
    • At number two, TSLA is still a beloved stock—especially with Millennials and Gen Z, who chose to hold at the highest rates, even as the price plummeted.
    • For self-directed investors of all ages, the TSLA hold rate is significantly higher (93%) than for investors who use managed brokerage services (84%).

“As a partner for the industry’s leading online investing platforms, Apex has a unique view into the changing landscape of digital wealth management,” said Connor Coughlin, Chief Commercial Officer, Fintech at Apex Fintech Solutions. “Throughout the fourth quarter 2022, retail investors displayed a risk-managed approach to trading and strategic investing as they continue to navigate recession fears. Millennials were the most active traders in the fourth quarter, demonstrating clear engagement and attention to evolving market conditions.”

Over the past few years, aggregate assets for all generations have risen ~16% to $52.4 trillion, while millennials and Gen Z are gaining wealth at a rate of 25%, much faster than the older generations.Such a massive shift in market power is fueling major implications for how, when, and why financial services are consumed today and in the future. In turn, for the first time, Apex included longer-duration data analysis to evaluate investor behavior during this period, deemed to be the “rise of the retail investor.”

The analysis found:

  • Self-Directed vs. ManagedTrends Lookback (Q1 2020 – Q2 2022) – Compared to managed accounts, self-directed accounts did comparatively little selling at the lows of the stock market at the onset of the pandemic (early 2020).
    • Instead, the peak in selling (the low for the hold rate) for self-directed came at the height of meme stock volatility in Q1 2021.
    • Over the whole period, including when their rate of selling was at its highest, managed accounts consistently add to positions at a much higher rate than self-directed, who are more likely to enter a position only once or add to it fewer times.
    • Specifically, year over year from EOY’21 to EOY’22 the top 10 stocks with the largest decline in the value of holdings held by self-directed investors were: Tesla Inc. (TSLA), AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. (AMC), Apple Inc. (AAPL), NVIDIA Corporation (NVDA), NIO Inc. (NIO), Lucid Group Inc. (LCID),, Inc. (AMZN), Microsoft Corp (MSFT), Meta Platforms, Inc. (META), Palantir Technologies Inc. (PLTR).

Overall, the report analyzed more than 1.3 million Gen Z accounts, in addition to over 4.0 million accounts held by Millennials, 2.0 million held by Gen X, and over half a million held by baby boomers. Apex defines generations according to the following:

  • Generation Z
    • Born: 1997-2012
    • Age in 2022: 25 and younger
  • Millennial
    • Born: 1981-1996
    • Age in 2022: 26-41
  • Generation X
    • Born: 1965-1980
    • Age in 2022: 42-57
  • Baby Boomer
    • Born: 1946-1964
    • Age in 2022: 58-76

To download the full ANIO Report, click here.

About Apex Fintech Solutions

Apex Fintech Solutions is a fintech powerhouse enabling seamless access, frictionless investing, and investor education for all. Apex’s omni-suite of scalable solutions fuel innovation and evolution for hundreds of today’s market leaders, challengers, change makers, and visionaries. The Company’s digital ecosystem creates an environment where clients with the biggest ideas are empowered to change the world. Apex works to ensure their partners succeed on the frontlines of the industry via bespoke custody & clearing, advisory, institutional, digital assets, and SaaS solutions through its Apex Clearing™, Apex Pro™, Apex Crypto™, Apex Advisor Solutions™, Apex Silver™, and Apex CODA Markets™ brands.

For more information, visit the Apex Fintech Solutions website:

Important Information:

The availability of products and services may vary by country. Nothing herein is an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy securities, products, or services by any person or entity in any jurisdiction or country where such distribution or use would be contrary to law or regulation. The summary data in this report is composed of specific types of accounts that met certain criteria that clear through Apex (e.g., self-directed individual accounts within a certain age range at a particular point in time). Any company stocks and ticker symbols that appear herein are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute a recommendation for a particular security. All investments carry risks. Investment returns will fluctuate and are subject to market volatility. An investor’s shares, when redeemed or sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost. You should consider your investment objectives, the risks involved, and consult with your investment and/or tax professional about your specific circumstances prior to making an investment decision.


1 Top 100 stock rankings reflect the 100 largest holdings based on notional values as of December 31, 2022, held across all retail accounts on the Apex platform.

2 The generations are segmented by the birth date of the account holders: Baby Boomers: 1946-1964 (Age in 2022: 58-76); Generation X: 1965-1980 (Age in 2022: 42-57); Millennial: 1981-1996 (Age in 2022: 26-41); Generation Z: 1997-2012 (Age in 2022: 25 and younger).

3 “U.S. High-Net-Worth and Ultra-High-Net-Worth Markets 2021,” Cerulli Associates, January 20, 2022.


Sara Widmann/Gwyn Hodges
Gasthalter & Co.
(212) 257-4170

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