The stock market has had a nice bull market for the last 18 months, but the world’s markets remain fragile: a terror incident, a faltering Chinese economy, a failing big bank, more interconnected global markets all mean more market volatility can be expected. Volatility can shake out weaker market participants and lead to more consolidation.
Depressions and recessions shape the psychology of investors. Great Depression-era Americans grew to mistrust banks; the financial crisis and ensuing Great Recession led Americans, especially those nearing retirement, to mistrust large banks and brokerage firms, but ironically not their individual advisors.
Americans have short memories, but their trust in government and big financial institutions has not recovered from pre-crisis levels. They are concerned more with preserving capital rather than growing it.
The above scenario is normally where insurers and hedge fund strategists would step in, but because of the greater transparency demanded by regulators and investors, you see those hedging and risk management strategies in ‘40 Act mutual funds and in ETFs.
Annuity providers have pulled back as their actuarial assumptions proved to be flawed, putting them at more risk. The BDs have been hit hard by private investing vehicles that have turned bad.
The advice business has been built on baby boomers, but the following generations contain more people and will have more assets; most advisors and their partners have neglected those younger generations.
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