A new SEI Quick Poll finds advisors consider external factors like legislation and ongoing industry scandals a significant threat to their ability to restore firm revenues.

In the poll entitled “How Are You Restoring Your Firm’s Revenue?” participants were asked to indicate what they felt to be the biggest threat to their efforts to restore firm revenue (other than market performance). While an inability to attract new clients was the number one response (33.3 percent), the threat of legislation and industry scandals came in a close second with 29.8 percent.

“The fact is that the equity markets’ negative returns already have investors panicked, so these factors only compound those fears,” said Stephen Onofrio, senior managing director, SEI Advisor Network. “That’s why it’s even more important for advisors to focus on keeping an open, proactive dialogue with clients to offset external pressures.”

The survey also explored the effect of the media on the client relationship process. More than 54.3 percent of advisors stated that many of their clients had raised issues about their investments specifically citing something they’d seen in the news. Additionally, 21.8 percent responded that clients who typically cited media in discussions continued to do so.

Also with regard to the media’s effect on client discussions, 39.1 percent of advisors agreed it led to clients “being more panicked than ever,” while 24.4 percent felt clients were beginning to doubt the media or question its credibility. Further, 19.3 percent of advisors feel time spent explaining what media stories mean is making their conversations less productive. In contrast, 11.7 felt the media actually helped make conversations more constructive, while only 5.6 percent felt the media had no effect at all.

“The flood of information from so many different places is incredibly confusing for clients,” said Chuck Carrick, ChFC of DMJ Advisors in Greensboro, N.C. “As trusted advisors, the best thing we can do is proactively communicate, educate clients about the facts, and advise them on any implications to their own portfolios.”