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Financial Advisors Voted Overwhelmingly for Trump: FSI Poll

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Financial advisors voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump to become the 45th president of the United States, according to a post-election poll just released by the Financial Services Institute.

Of the 1,300-plus advisors polled, 71% voted for Trump, 19% for Hillary Clinton and 10% for a third candidate or declined to say whom they voted for.

FSI President Dale E. Brown congratulated President-elect Trump the day after the election, noting that the trade association for independent financial services firms and advisors stands “ready to work with his administration” to ensure Americans’ “access to objective and affordable financial advice as they save for a dignified retirement, pay for their children’s education and help care for aging parents.”

According to the post-election FSI poll, 86% of advisors said Trump should repeal the Department of Labor’s fiduciary rule, due to take effect in mid-April.

(Related on ThinkAdvisor: Judge in Texas Case ‘Very Hard’ on DOL Rule, Lawyer Says)

The FSI is one of nine groups challenging the DOL fiduciary rule in a case pending before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

(Related on ThinkAdvisor: Kansas Judge Upholds DOL Fiduciary Rule)

Earlier this month, two other challenges to the rule in federal district courts – in Washington, D.C. and in Kansas – failed in their requests for a preliminary injunction against the DOL rule.

(Related on ThinkAdvisor: DOL Rule Survives Court Challenge by Annuity Group)

Last year, clients of FSI members sent over 100,000 letters to the DOL, pleading for relief from the DOL rule, according to FSI. The institute and other financial industry trade groups argue that the fiduciary rule is unworkable, unnecessarily complex and will result in smaller investors losing access to financial advisory services.

Among other things, the rule will make it more difficult for advisors to sell commission-based products, and several firms, including Merrill Lynch and Commonwealth Advisors, have already announced that commission-based products will no longer be available in retirement accounts.

More than half of the advisors polled by FSI were optimistic about the economy and stock market performance in 2017. Fifty-eight percent expect a strong economy, compared with 36% who have a neutral outlook, and 56% expect strong stock market performance compared with 37% who are neutral on their outlook. The latest economic data from the Commerce Department support those optimistic views.

The Commerce Department on Tuesday revised third-quarter GDP growth higher to 3.2% from 2.9% reported previously and reported that corporate profits rose 2.8% from a year earlier following five straight quarters of declines.

When asked about tax reform and spending, just under half the advisors polled by FSI said they want the incoming president and Congress to cut spending and just over one-quarter said taxes should be raised along with spending cuts. Twenty-two percent preferred “other” when asked whether Congress should raise taxes or cut spending. (Only 3% called for a tax raise alone.)

The latest FSI poll asked several questions about advisor’s future plans for their businesses. Fifty-one percent reported having a business succession plan finalized and in place, up from 41% in 2014; 49% did not.

Only one-third had plans to acquire another practice or book of business in the next one to five years and slightly less, 27%, had such plans for the next 5 to 10 years. Their primary motivations for such acquisitions: the need to scale to stay profitable, excitement about future of the business and expanding services and clientele.

Twenty-one percent of advisors reported plans to retire or sell their practice in the next one to five years and 26% expect to do so in the next five to 10 years. Retirement was the primary reason given, followed by the DOL fiduciary rule and compliance burdens and opportunities to make money on their practice. About 12% responded “other.”

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