A complex set of factors are influencing this year’s volatile markets, creating a need for financial advisors to offer more education for concerned clients, according to Peter Mallouk, Creative Planning president and CEO.
He recently offered several insights for financial advisors and investors to consider in approaching the current environment.
It’s More Complicated This Time
“I think it’s a more complicated time than normal,” Mallouk said in an interview Tuesday, noting key differences between this year’s market downturn and the past four bear markets.
“These were four very scary bear markets but they all had one thing in common: They all had a single cause,” Mallouk said, citing the tech bubble, 9/11, the 2008-09 financial crisis and the 2020 coronavirus pandemic.
In contrast, a string of developments are rocking financial markets this year, including an overbought stock market, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, supply chain disruption, high inflation, Federal Reserve rate hikes and rising COVID cases leading to new lockdowns in key markets, he noted.
“There’s so much information, it’s not an easy narrative to explain or understand,” Mallouk said. “There’s a lot of complexity and a lot of uncertainty and the market is behaving accordingly.”
Fed vs. Investors
There’s another difference this time.
In the past four bear markets, the Federal Reserve “was on the investor’s side” and pumping money into the system, Mallouk said. Now, given high inflation and low unemployment, “this is the first bear market in a long time when the Fed is on the opposite side” and wants the market to cool down, he added.
Focus on Clients’ Needs
This market complexity may require more education for clients. “Different clients bring different concerns,” Mallouk said, adding that some may think there’s only one issue driving the market.
His advice for advisors? “They need to get back to focusing on the clients’ needs. What do the clients need and when do they need it?”
That means owning the kind of assets that don’t require investors to worry about what happens to energy prices in the next six months or with the pandemic or the supply chain in the next year, Mallouk said.
“Just own things that over certain periods of time tend to do well and make sure your clients understand that that’s how you’re making your decisions,” he said.