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Advisors See ‘Slow and Steady’ Growth Through Year-End: SEI

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Advisors remain optimistic about the economy’s immediate future, according to a survey released in June by SEI. Almost 80% of advisors surveyed at SEI’s National Strategic Advisor Conference said they see “slow and steady” growth for the economy through the end of 2014.

SEI also surveyed advisors about their use of technology and social media; advisors overwhelmingly cited LinkedIn as the most effective social network.

On the subject of economic growth, most advisors (76%) thought the Dow Jones industrial average would rise 10% or less. Another 17% said the Dow would rise 11% to 20%.

“It seems like the psychological after-effects of the recession are finally starting to wear off, and advisors are becoming more optimistic about the market,” Steve Onofrio, senior vice president of sales and service for the SEI Advisor Network, said in a statement. “They may not be ready to predict huge returns, but even anticipating slow growth is an improvement over where most advisors were a year ago. It will be critical for advisors to now start communicating that optimism to their clients.”

An SEI survey conducted last year found 41% of advisors expected similar levels of economic growth, while 40% expected a correction.

The two biggest factors keeping that steady growth slow, advisors say, are global and political issues and federal debt. Almost 60% of respondents said geopolitical issues would be the biggest dampers on the economy, while 20% said debt would prevent stronger growth.

Advisors All In on LinkedIn

SEI also asked respondents some questions to divine specific ways technology could help their business.

Fifteen percent of respondents said technology opened new channels of communication between them and their clients. In that regard, (some) social media has been a useful tool for advisors to build their business. Eighty-two percent of advisors said LinkedIn was the most effective social media channel they’ve used. Facebook and Twitter scraped together a combined 5%, less even than blogs, of which 12% of advisors agreed were an effective tool.

Just 9% said technology helps them give their clients a better view of their wealth.

Three-quarters of respondents said technology allowed them to be more productive be creating efficiencies. However, 56% of respondents said they did not have integrated processes in place to help them deliver a consistent client experience.

SEI suggested that may be a matter of having the money but not the time to devote to technology. More than half of respondents said they didn’t have time to keep up with the latest tools available to them, while just 5% said they couldn’t afford the updates.

Check out ‘If You Don’t Have a Social Presence, You Don’t Count’ on ThinkAdvisor.