Nearly one in five advisers think the financial crisis will last another five years, and 33% think the American way of life has been irrevocably changed for years to come, a survey of advisers from firms of all sizes by Phoenix Marketing International found.
Only 20% think the economy will rebound significantly this year.
With this outlook in mind, advisers are focusing on improved client relations and suggesting less-risky investments from trusted brand names. In advisers’ eyes, well-known mutual fund companies, insurers and local banks are the most trustworthy. Due to the demise of so many investment banks and brokerages, longtime brand names in those areas are being viewed askance.
The three mutual fund companies that advisers have the best overall impression of are American Funds, Franklin Templeton and Vanguard. In terms of brand, the three leaders are John Hancock, MetLife and, again, Vanguard.
Sarah Thompson, a vice president at Phoenix, explained, “Most importantly, a financial services firm must be perceived as conducting business with the highest ethical standards, as a company my clients can trust, and having a stellar industry reputation. Also of interest is that several household-name firms are now viewed less favorably by advisers, and these companies will likely receive fewer product recommendations going forward. Firms like AIG come to mind.”