Russell Investments’ latest quarterly survey of U.S. financial advisors found that many advisors are telling their clients to expect continued market volatility throughout 2012. Despite these market concerns, though, few advisors are making major shifts in portfolios. Many, however, are turning to mutual-fund groups and other organizations for research and other tools to help them gather information and share it more frequently with clients.
When asked what they plan to tell clients in preparation for a new year, 40 percent of advisors said they are focused on expectations for continued volatility, followed by slow economic growth (15 percent of comments). In the latest study, 63 percent of advisors surveyed say that market volatility has been a primary topic of client-initiated conversations over the past three months.
Russell conducts its Financial Professional Outlook survey quarterly and asks advisors about their perspectives and clients’ sentiments on the capital markets; the most recent results include the views of more than 310 financial advisors with about 130 different firms.
Overall, 66 percent of advisors report being optimistic about the capital markets, down from 72 percent in the September 2011 research findings. Just 9 percent of advisors feel that clients are optimistic about the capital markets, which reflects a continued decrease over the course of 2011.
“Advisors know that volatility and the continued uncertainty surrounding issues around the globe are battering investors’ views on the markets. Communication is key for allaying clients’ fears, but it also presents some challenges — most notably, advisors must decide carefully how to manage their time effectively,” said Ryan Parker, managing director, national accounts and business development for Russell’s U.S. advisor-sold business, in a press release. “Interestingly, while advisors are working to help ease investor concerns, their own sentiments remain quite positive — so much so that they are turning their focus to business growth and expansion in the coming year.”
The latest survey also finds that 44 percent of advisors believe portfolio performance was the main topic of conversation initiated by clients in the past three months — a notable increase from earlier surveys.