Clients boosted their participation in employer retirement plans leading up to Tax Day, while their appetite for risk rose, as well.

Both factors helped May’s Retirement Advisor Confidence Index — Financial Planning’s monthly barometer of business conditions for wealth managers — edge up 0.4 points for the month, reaching 54.0 after declining slightly the previous month.

Asked to focus on April activity, advisors said their clients were showing a greater willingness to take on portfolio risk. However, most other factors in the index remained relatively flat, and several advisors said they witnessed little to no change.

Advisors did report a slight jump in assets allocated to equities, adding 2.1 points from last month for a reading of 60.4. At the same time, assets allocated to cash fell slightly, remaining in negative territory at 47.4. (RACI readings of less than 50 indicate declines, while readings of more than 50 indicate expansion.)

Total contributions to retirement plans also bumped up 2.7 points, likely reflecting last-minute contributions in the last days of tax season.

However, some advisors fretted that their clients were still not saving enough. One advisor noted that his clients’ insufficient contributions were driven by their “willingness to live a lifestyle less than they’re currently living.”

Another advisor agreed, saying that clients mistakenly felt they had “some control in the longevity of their retirement” and did not feel they needed to plan beyond “their own expectations.”

The index is composed of 10 factors — including asset allocations, investment product recommendations, economic and risk factors, taxes and planning fees — to track trends in wealth management business cycles.

Maddy Perkins

Maddy Perkins

Maddy Perkins is the Assistant Managing Editor for Financial Planning, Bank Investment Consultant and On Wall Street.