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Clients have an uneasy feeling

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Advisers say they allocated fewer client assets in May to U.S. and global equities and bonds, continuing a trend from the previous month.

Wealth managers cited their concerns and client nervousness about the impact that rising interest rates could have, as well as political and economic upheaval across the globe, according to the latest Global Asset Allocation Tracker, which surveyed 297 advisers.

Many advisers say their clients’ emotions in the face of political and market uncertainty range from “a little uneasy” to “very concerned.” While one planner reports that clients have “no confidence in non-U.S. markets,” another says clients are waiting to invest in more funds until after the U.S. presidential election.

Other issues that clients and advisers have been facing include the economic slowdown in China and other emerging markets; the impeachment trial of Brazil’s president; and a referendum on whether Britain should remain within the European Union, the so-called Brexit vote.

Planners themselves are divided about where client funds could best be put to use, given the uncertainty plaguing global markets.

“Bullish on U.S. markets, bearish on foreign markets,” says an adviser.

Another wealth manager reports the opposite outlook: “Allocating more to [global] equity because valuations are so much lower and [the] U.S. has outperformed several years in a row.”

Despite advisers’ reasons for investing more in U.S. or global assets, clients may be too hesitant to heed their counsel, planners report.

One adviser says clients are too “scared” to invest in assets that the adviser describes as undervalued.