Advisor confidence climbed for a second straight month in November, with gains fueled by an increase in risk tolerance and a shift away from cash.
The Retirement Advisor Confidence Index - Financial Planning's monthly barometer of business conditions for wealth managers - edged up 1.2 points to a reading of 55.7. Index components with big moves included a roughly 6-point drop in allocations to cash and a 4-point increase in risk tolerance.
Investor attitudes improved as the federal government shutdown came to a close, advisors said in the latest survey, which asked respondents to focus on October activity. "Although uncertainty heightened due to the debt ceiling and fiscal cliff during October, investors' confidence in the economy appears to improve once Congress extended the debt ceiling deadline," one planner said.
Although one respondent said savvier clients were scooping up bargains, another was more sanguine: "I think many folks ignored the noise and mud wrestling that took place in D.C., and decided that the world would work out OK."
Advisors also reported a modest increase in fees, noting that the markets' growth had been good for AUM fees. But some reported a squeeze on compensation. "Fee pressure is intense," one advisor said, adding that there was "lots of pushback on charging even a modest percent of assets under management when the advice is [to] stay the course or just tweak allocations."
The index is composed of 10 factors - including asset allocations, investment product recommendations, economic and risk factors, taxes and planning fees - to track trends in wealth management business cycles.
RACI readings of less than 50 indicate declines, while readings of more than 50 indicate expansion.