Independent financial advisers are somewhat optimistic about the economy, with 44% saying they believe the recession will end this year, and another 41% pointing to next year, Charles Schwab found in a survey of 1,200 advisers.

Fifty-three percent said they believe the S&P 500 Index will rise in the first half of this year, and 67% said they hope they country will become more united in the next six months, up from 23% who said so last July. Roughly 66% said they approve of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s leadership.

That said, 84% said achieving investment goals in the current environment is challenging. Fifty-five percent said it could take as long as three years for portfolios to return to their levels of last September, and 35% said it could take between three and five years.

“Advisers don’t have a GPS to guide them, but they have the experience and savvy to see that there are still potholes on the road ahead,” said Bernie Clark, senior vice president for Schwab’s adviser services, which supports 5,700 independent investment advisers. “Their long-term view, reasoned outlook and steady approach will serve their clients well in this environment.”

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