Financial advisors are looking forward to 2010. In fact, 68% of advisors recently surveyed define their 2010 business mindset as one of acceleration and growth. Curian Capital LLC, an indirect subsidiary of Prudential plc, surveyed more than 1,800 independent financial advisors in an effort to gauge how the market downturn impacted their practices during 2009, and determine how it will shape their priorities for the year ahead.
Findings from the survey, titled “20101 Outlook for Advisor Priorities,” reveal that most advisors feel investor emotions impacted their ability to manage clients’ portfolios in 2009 and led them to increase the frequency and duration of their client meetings. The survey results also show that market volatility in 2009 increased client demand for more conservative investments and guaranteed income, prompting advisors to adopt a more tactical approach to portfolio construction.
Looking ahead to 2010, while most advisors expect to grow their business, only 10% of respondents feel their business strategy is currently sound, while one-third know their business model needs to change but are uncertain how. The majority of respondents feel that marketing, cross-selling and business plan development are valuable forms of support that can help them achieve growth. Respondents were asked what products they expect to increase in 2010. Life insurance received the most responses behind separately managed accounts and variable annuities.
Other key findings from the survey include:
• 78% of respondents have changed the way they interact with clients during the past year
• 88% of advisors feel investor emotions impacted their ability to effectively manage client portfolios
• More than half of advisors report that their clients have modified their expectations of retirement lifestyle or plan to delay retirement
• More than half of respondents have adopted a more tactical approach to portfolio construction
• 68% of respondents describe their business mindset for 2010 as one of acceleration and growth, but only 56% have a strategic plan in place to grow their business
• Only 10% of advisors feel their business strategy is sound and does not need to change
“Most advisors responding to our survey indicate that their clients’ goals and priorities have changed dramatically since the downturn,” says Chris Rosato, SVP of strategic development for Curian. “As a result, advisors have had to make a fundamental shift in their approach to portfolio construction, client interaction and practice management. The advisors who recognize the need for change, and seek out new solutions for meeting their clients’ needs, will be the most successful in the coming year.”