Advisers slow to raise allocations, citing high valuations and global jitters

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Advisers say they are becoming cautious about upping clients’ asset allocations, due to uncertain economic conditions abroad and pricey valuations at home.

Financial planners reported increases in allocations to global equities and bonds in the wake of the Brexit vote, but not enough to boost numbers into positive territory, according to the latest edition of the Global Asset Allocation Tracker, which polled 330 advisers.

Many advisers say there are buying opportunities in global equities, but clients are hesitant because of political events and global upheaval.

The volatility can be painful, but these funds are often used to diversify portfolios and generate alpha.
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"Foreign is cheap, but for a reason," says a wealth manager.

Another wealth manager cites economic conditions in China as a "big worry" for clients. Other advisers noted how shocking Brexit was to clients, as well as concerns about how the upcoming U.S. election could affect the domestic and global economies.

Though global markets may face headwinds now, non-U.S. equities remain a "great" long-term investment, a planner says.

Still, convincing clients of the value of investing in foreign equities is proving difficult, particularly with regard to higher-yielding, riskier assets in emerging markets, advisers report.

"The attempted coup in Turkey was a rude awakening to investing in emerging markets, with the rise of political instability in many regions of the world just a gunshot away from full-blown war. The total disregard of life by ISIS has the world and investors worried about when and where the next terrorist attacks will occur," an adviser says.

Another adviser says his team continues to allocate about 20% of client assets to global equities, including emerging markets. "The recent turmoil has not deterred us from keeping our allocation as such," he says.

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