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Advisors Sanguine About Bernanke Accession; Clients Less So

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Rydex AdvisorBenchMarking’s latest survey of advisors found a disconnect between advisors’ expectations and clients’, particularly when it comes to the direction of interest rates under the new chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, Ben Bernanke, who was confirmed by the Senate on January 31 and took over from Alan Greenspan on February 1. AdvisorBenchmarking’s supplemental survey of 251 RIAs conducted in mid-November found that 31% of advisors disagreed that interest rates would “increase dramatically with Alan Greenspan’s departure,” and 46% neither agreed nor disagreed, while 44% said their clients expected such a dramatic increase. That disconnect isn’t surprising, according to Maya Ivanova, AdvisorBenchmarking research analyst and author of the monthly e-newsletter PracticeEdge, who notes that in last year’s full survey–the sixth year it was conducted– “clients expected double-digit returns” from the stock market, much higher than what their advisors expected. Among other notable findings, respondents reported that 54% of clients extracted equity from their homes to invest in the market, while 46% of advisors disagreed with the statement that “clients are investing more aggressively due to the increased value of their homes,” and only 31% agreed with the statement. In response to a question on how advisors attempt to minimize losses and risk in a market downturn, 46% of the respondents said they would purchase non-correlated assets, and a total of 33% would either short individual stocks or “use shorting vehicles other than stocks.” Those findings were not surprising either, says Ivanova, noting that prior research had shown that “more advisors are becoming tactical rather than strategic.”