Advisors may want to seize buying opportunities in equity markets, but they're butting up against clients wary of global economic turmoil, volatile markets and uncertainty around the Fed's thinking on interest rates.
Financial advisors registered a slight uptick in client asset allocations to equities, but remained below the levels reached earlier this year, according to the latest findings of the Global Asset Allocation Tracker. Allocations to U.S. bonds remained flat.
After months of negative headlines, from Greece's debt crisis to China's economic slowdown, many clients are wary of taking any action, advisors say. Wealth managers describe their clients as worried, uneasy and anxious.
"People are very scared of China and a potential slowing of the global economy," one advisor reports.
Another wealth manager, reflecting on September's activity, says that "some clients couldn't handle the volatility and we sold out positions."
Advisors also report some clients were moving into cash and lament that they may be missing out on opportunities to boost allocations for underpriced equities. "Even with foreign stocks undervalued, [clients] cannot be persuaded to move more into emerging markets," one advisor says.
A few planners, however, have adopted a contrarian stance and argue against reacting to daily movements.
"This is a goal-based attitude, not a knee jerking reaction," a planner says.
The tracker surveyed 306 advisors, using a baseline of 50. Readings of more than 50 indicate increases and less than 50 indicate declines.