While client apprehensions have tied many advisors' hands for the moment, many are looking ahead to buying opportunities presented by recent volatility.

One noted that, amid dramatic swings in the market, it's still important to "remember that significant downturns can be opportune times to invest."

Nonetheless, client discomfort led advisors to avoid buying global equities in August, according to the latest findings of the Global Asset Allocation Tracker.

Many wealth managers said they assured clients that the best move was to stay put ahead of the market slide.

Across the board, advisors shied away from increasing client allocations to equities and bonds in August. In particular, they veered away from emerging market bonds and equities as well as frontier market bonds.

"With China being in the news on an almost daily basis and with oil hitting multi-year lows, many of my clients are opting to sit out and be more in cash or not to add much more (in assets) to equities or bonds — especially in emerging markets such as Brazil," one advisor wrote.

Another advisor pointed to the BRIC countries' reversal of fortunes: "China becomes more of a wildcard every day. Russia is no longer the Great Bear; more like a whimpering broke cousin posturing at the family reunion."

But, advisors also indicated they were patiently waiting — or, as one put it, keeping a "steady as you go" approach -- for purchasing opportunities to present themselves.

The tracker, which surveyed 305 advisors, uses a baseline of 50. Readings of more than 50 indicate increases and less than 50 indicate declines.