After two months of modest gains, Financial Planning's Retirement Advisor Confidence Index - a monthly barometer of business conditions for wealth managers - slipped for October, driven by declines in equity investments and greater allocations to cash.
The index registered 51.1, a drop from the October level of 52.6, according to a Financial Planning survey of planning professionals. RACI readings below 50 show a decline relative to the prior month, while more than 50 indicate expansion.
Advisors reversed a two-month decline in the portion of assets held in cash, jumping to 49.2% from 41.7% last month - a contrary indicator. Advisors also cut the chunk held in equities to 53.8% from 60.8%. Risk tolerance also slipped.
"With the market up for the year, people seemed to want to take some gains off the table," one advisor said. "That meant selling some stocks and buying more bonds." The survey focused on a period just before the election, and many planners said clients were more risk-averse.
The RACI is comprised of 12 factors - including asset allocations, investment product recommendations, client recruitment and retention, economic and risk factors, taxes and plan fees - to track trends in wealth management business cycles.