Advisors have shaken off their late winter blahs.
After taking a dip in March, Financial Planning's Retirement Advisor Confidence Index rebounded in April to hit a new high, with planners reporting a modest rise in clients' risk tolerane levels as well as larger increases in fees charged and retirement products purchased.
The index - a monthly barometer of business conditions for wealth managers - registered 57.8, according to a Financial Planning survey of planning professionals, after losing ground in March on worries about oversold equity markets and Washington gridlock.
Among the factors affecting the April index were a 19-point increase in the amount of retirement plan contributions and a 12-point bump in fees charged by advisors for retirement planning services. One respondent chalked up the retirement moves to tax planning season.
"Retirement contributions were higher in March," the advisor reported, "but I think that is mostly because Tax Day is near and people were trying to put together as much as they could for deductible contributions."
Advisors also reported a drop in allocations to cash and an increase in risk tolerance, although some suggested that clients were split on the market's overall prospects. "Improved [market] performance has increased people's interest in equities and risk-taking," another respondent said, "but concerns of a spring market correction are tempering [clients'] bullishness."
The index is composed of 12 factors - including asset allocations, investment product recommendations, economic and risk factors, taxes and planning fees - to track trends in wealth management business cycles.