Financial Planning's Retirement Advisor Confidence Index - a monthly barometer of business conditions for wealth managers - rose in its latest reading, a bullish sign for the planning industry.
The September index registered 51.6%, a gain from the revised August level of 48.6%, according to a Financial Planning survey of planning professionals. RACI readings of less than 50% indicate a decline relative to the prior month, while more than 50% indicate an expansion.
The latest RACI reading was driven by a higher level of risk tolerance, a move into stocks and a drop in client assets parked in cash. August's initial reading was 48.7%.
As stocks surged a month ago, one advisor respondent said, "People are gaining confidence in the market, so we are seeing more participants enroll and contributions going higher." Another said, "Clients are more interested in getting cash to work than prior months."
With Nov. 6 looming, one wealth manager noted, "The elections are making people hesitant," and another added, "There is lots of fence sitting due to the election process and the overseas uncertainty."
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.