As the stock market made stomach-churning lurches, advisors took a deep breath and shifted allocations away from cash and back toward equities.
After plunging to an almost two-year low, the Retirement Advisor Confidence Index — Financial Planning’s monthly barometer of business conditions for wealth managers — inched back up 1.8 points to return to positive territory for November.
Asked to focus on October activity, advisors reported pullbacks in allocations to both cash and bonds, with cash downshifting more than 11 points to fall into negative territory. Meanwhile, allocations to equities advanced significantly. (RACI readings of more than 50 indicate expansion, while readings of less than 50 indicate declines.)
Reporting on clients’ perceived risk tolerance was mixed: The index score advanced four points but remained below the critical 50-point mark. “Risk tolerance — or really risk confidence — was lower in October due to volatility,” one advisor noted, adding, “We had a few clients who decided to invest at a lower risk level.”
Yet not everyone was afraid to go into the water. “Some clients wanted to take on more market risk,” said one planner. And another cited clients’ long-term perspective. “My practice focuses mainly on younger individuals who have roughly 30 years until retirement and can afford to take on more risk to obtain their desired results,” the advisor said. “Their retirement outlook is fine.”
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.