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Worry swelled ahead of election

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With the election upon us and the first phase-in of the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule coming in April, advisers have found their own worries growing along with their clients’ concerns.

Uncertainty about the months ahead brought this month's Retirement Adviser Confidence Index — Financial Planning's monthly barometer of business conditions for wealth managers — down 1.3 points to 51.5. Still, the index remains in positive territory.

Across the board, advisers noted their clients were significantly more risk-averse. Clients' perceived risk tolerance level fell 7.6 points and into negative territory at 45.5. Some advisers reported that election-concerned clients, who were holding cash, planned to keep it until all votes were cast.

"Those with cash positions have shown interest in maintaining that position through November," wrote one adviser.

Another adviser reported election worries affected their own decision-making on behalf of clients: "The election has me [acting] more conservative than usual. I have allocated more to cash now, to allocate back into equities slowly after the election."

The index reflected advisers' claims that clients were moving away from equities. Allocations to equities fell 3.7 points.