Advisors worried about volatility should focus on the long term, Fidelity says.

Market volatility topped financial advisors’ list of concerns in the first quarter, according to Fidelity’s latest quarterly investment pulse study, released Monday.

Twenty-eight percent of advisors said volatility was top of mind, up considerably from 19% who said this in the fourth quarter.

“There is no question that the market had a volatile start to 2016, so it’s no surprise that volatility was a top concern for advisors in the first quarter, particularly in January,” Scott Couto, president of Fidelity Institutional Asset Management, said in a statement.

“Volatility can be uncomfortable, but advisors shouldn’t allow short-term events to dictate changes to long-term strategy.”

Rather, Couto said, advisors should focus on what they can control. “This starts by helping clients look at longer-term horizons, and by having a plan to invest through market fluctuations.”

Fidelity bases its quarterly survey findings on the responses of more than 1,000 of its advisor clients.

Twenty-five percent of advisors cited portfolio management as a major theme in the first quarter.

At the same time, fewer than 10% expressed concern about interest rates, down from some 20% in the previous quarter.

Fidelity noted that interest rates had been among advisors’ five main topics every quarter for more than two years; in the first quarter, it dropped to number seven.

DOL Fiduciary Rule

The new poll found that political and regulatory developments were the third main concern of respondents, rising by four percentage points to 16% of those polled.

This is not surprising as advisors focused on the Department of Labor’s new fiduciary rule and the presidential primary season was in full swing.

Fidelity noted that advisors who could come up with an effective plan, aligned with their firm’s response to the DOL rule, might be able to create a competitive advantage for themselves.

“They may evaluate their business by determining account transition plans, establishing a framework to discuss the impact of the rule with clients, and discussing asset consolidation. This may also be an opportunity for advisors to reaffirm their value to clients and identify options to potentially scale portfolio management.”

— Check out Fighting Investor Bias Through Portfolio Design on ThinkAdvisor.