Financial advisors have lost their springtime swagger.
Affected by negative outlooks on the stock market and the economy, financial advisor confidence, as measured by Rydex SGI AdvisorBenchmarking has declined to its lowest level since last summer.
The Advisor Confidence Index was at 101.19 in May, down almost 6% from 108.59 in April, according to data from Rockville, Md.-based Rydex-SGI released Monday. All four components of the ACI dropped in May. Current, six- and 12-month outlooks all dropped 7.8%, 9.63%, and 0.37%, respectively. The stock market outlook was down 10.62%. In July, the ACI was at 96, the last time it dipped below 100.
Blame the European sovereign debt crisis, which unfolded in April and has now caused the Euro to tumble to $1.22 against the dollar, the lowest level in almost 10 years, by some measures. Some advisors, like Gregory Horn, Blue Bell, Penn.-based Persimmon Capital Management’s founder, managing partner and president, think those problems, together with a potential slowdown in China, could negatively affect the U.S. recovery.
“The sick men of Europe cannot possibly implement enough austerity measures to offset such large debt to GDP levels,” Horn said in a statement from Rydex. “And the U.S. is setting itself up for the same structural problems as spending is currently 150% of receipts.”
Rydex also asked advisors what they thought the economic impact would be from the financial reform legislation, which has passed both houses. Almost half of advisors, 48%, think it will have very little impact on the economy. But among those who chose sides for a positive or negative impact, they were evenly split, at 18% for both.
Advisors did agree, however, that the financial markets needed better oversight. A solid majority of advisors, 61%, agreed with proposals to close regulatory loopholes for derivatives and other complex investment packages. Fifty-seven percent agreed that bank supervision should be strengthened and 52% of respondents said the credit rating agencies should be regulated.