It’s more than the title of an annoying song (very). Seems RIAs are getting their mojo back, and have a healthy outlook for the future. A new survey from TD AMERITRADE Institutional shows advisors are upbeat about their jobs and the outlook on the U.S economy as a whole. Job satisfaction, in particular, remains high for RIAs. On a scale of 1 to 10, half of advisors surveyed gave top ratings (9 or 10) to job satisfaction, up 10 percent from last quarter. And nearly half of RIAs have an optimistic outlook of the U.S. economy over the next three months, up 25 percent from May.

The survey shows the RIA channel may be growing as advisors surveyed indicated investors continue to choose independent advisors over full-commission brokers. Nine in 10 RIAs report total client numbers are up or remained steady over the last six months. More than 60 percent of RIAs surveyed added clients, 30 percent saw no change and less than 10 percent lost clients. RIAs who reported growth say 72 percent of new client assets came from wirehouses and broker-dealers. Dissatisfaction and lack of trust in full-commission brokerages (46 percent) and overall preference for the independent advice model (44 percent) are top reasons clients chose an RIA.

While the RIA business is thriving, the events of the past year have taken a toll on the personal lives of advisors. More than half of RIAs report their quality of life was negatively impacted by the financial downturn in the economy. Finances, mental health and hours worked were areas most adversely affected. Those who say they were positively impacted report improvements in job satisfaction and finances.

As for what lies ahead:

  • The average rate of return on client portfolios they expect to achieve over the next 12 months will be 9-10 percent.
  • Advisors predict technology (27 percent), financials (17 percent) and oil & gas (13 percent) sectors will have the best performance over the next twelve months, followed by basic materials (11 percent), health care (8 percent), industrials (6 percent), consumer goods (6 percent), utilities (4 percent) consumer services (2 percent) and telecommunications (1 percent). Seven percent say some other sector.
  • Advisors predict financials (22 percent), consumer goods (18 percent) and health care (15 percent) will have the worst performance over the next twelve months, followed by utilities (12 percent), oil & gas (7 percent), consumer services (7 percent), telecommunications (5 percent), basic materials (4 percent), industrials (3 percent) and technology (1 percent). Five percent say some other sector.