A survey of more than 2,000 advisors by the Denver-based managed account provider Curian Capital found that more advisors are optimistic about the economy when compared with previous years, but are concerned with rising interest rates and tax burdens.
The “Curian Advisor Survey: 2013 Outlook for Advisor Priorities” found a “wide swing” over last year in the overall strength and direction of the economy, Mark Schoenbeck (right), Curian’s senior vice president of marketing, told AdvisorOne on Wednesday.
“We’ve had four years of positive stock market returns, and it only took four years for advisor sentiment to catch up,” he said.
However, Schoenbeck added that 95% of respondents were either “moderately or very concerned” about rising interest rates and their effect on their clients’ fixed-income allocations.
“To have 95% of advisors say yes to anything means it is a major concern,” he said.
Additionally, the survey, now in its sixth year, found only 6% of respondents use social media to gain new leads, which appeared to shed light on recent debate about whether the medium should be considered a marketing tool or a distribution channel.
“Part of this is the regulatory environment catching up with the technology,” Schoenbeck said. “We’re now starting to get guidance, as an industry, so those numbers should soon rise. I was just at a conference where one presenter noted that IT budgets specifically dedicated to social media marketing will soon eclipse IT budgets over all. “
Moving to product selection, the survey found 87% of advisors think the tax-efficiency or after-tax performance of their clients’ portfolio is important, which Schoenbeck noted “is a little higher than normal.”
“It fits, somewhat selfishly, with what we’re doing as a firm from a strategic standpoint,” he explained. “A big part of message focuses on fixed income and tax efficiency.”
Alternative investments are another focus for the firm, as well as parent company Jackson National Life. While more than 30% of advisors said they currently had 10% or more of their assets under management allocated to alternative asset classes, more than 31% of respondents said they planned to increase their use of alternative investments by 5% to 10% this year.
Key findings of the survey include: