Financial Advisors Upbeat About U.S. Economy

Survey finds clients are in better financial shape than a year ago

A year makes a big difference.

The third-quarter Brinker Barometer, released Monday, found that 49% of financial advisors felt good about the economy and their clients’ financial future, compared with 26% who felt that way in the same period a year ago.

Sixty-nine percent of advisors said their clients were financially better off than they were a year ago, and 51% said clients had more purchasing power.

“What’s particularly remarkable about this rise in confidence is that advisors were able to see beyond the then-looming government shutdown, and the country’s tarnished reputation on the international stage, to focus on the longer-term prospects for America’s economic future,” Brinker Capital vice chairman John Coyne said in a statement.

Respondents weren’t rid of all concerns, however. Sixty-eight percent felt financial regulation would have a negative effect on the investment management industry over the coming decade.

Another 64% believed the country’s reputation around the world had suffered over the past year.

And 61% fretted about ineffective federal governance by the White House and Congress.

When asked what changes they expected to make in their clients’ investment strategy over the next 10 years, 69% of advisors said they would focus more on “desired personal or purpose-driven investing outcomes.”

Brinker’s statement said this was supported by a finding in its first-quarter barometer in which 87% of advisors considered it more important to measure success against a client’s personal goals rather than a standard benchmark.

In the new survey, 78% of respondents said they would not recommend any changes to their clients’ retirement investing plans.

Advisors complained that new prospects were resistant to their recommendations. Seventy-two percent ascribed this to market skepticism, 40% to lack of investment knowledge and 29% to clients not wanting to pay fees for advice that is free on the Internet.

Respondents also played what’s hot, what’s not in terms of asset allocations, with 57% favoring alternatives, 54% equities and 46% international.

Fixed income was most out of favor with 63% of advisors, cash with 28% and emerging markets with 14%. 

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