Advisor confidence rebounded somewhat in March after the previous month's plunge, with advisors shifting assets back to equities from cash as risk tolerance largely recovered.
The Retirement Advisor Confidence Index - Financial Planning's monthly barometer of business conditions for wealth managers - bounced back 2.4 points in March, making up half of the prior month's fall.
A big reallocation from cash to equities led the way, while risk tolerance also climbed after the earlier 17-point drop. "Clients took January's volatility as a sign of things to come and many clients decided to rebalance back to target allocations," one advisor said.
Another highlighted clients' concerns about their retirement nest eggs: "A growing need for asset growth is beginning to propel more people to more aggressive allocations."
The survey, which asked advisors to focus on February activity, also turned up a bump in retirement planning activity, finding increases in both plan contributions and products sold.
Respondents cited a seasonal focus on tax planning: "The beginning of the year typically causes people to be more aware of retirement plan contributions," said one, while another pointed out that his clients' "focus has been on completing any 2013 plan year contributions."
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.
RACI readings of less than 50 indicate declines, while readings of more than 50 indicate expansion.