Financial advisors are recommending clients consider higher overseas equity allocations in the near term, according to the results of Russell Investments’ new quarterly Financial Professional Outlook survey.
More than half, 53%, of the 900 respondents have increased asset allocations to emerging market equities and about the same number of advisors, 49%, have invested in Eurozone companies.
Domestically, advisors are looking decidedly more conservatively at large-cap value (39%) and large-cap growth (37%).
There are two reasons for this, said Rod Greenshields, the consulting director at Russell’s private client services group. First, recent domestic returns have made foreign equities look very attractive. And second, it has been clear for some time that growth in the global economy will likely come from emerging markets, which currently make up around 11% of the global economy.
Even when taking riskier emerging markets out of the equation, splendid isolation is no longer an option for investors, Greenshields said. The global economy is now evenly split between U.S. and non-U.S. markets, and while the U.S. is still a major player, its market share will erode with time, especially as emerging markets become less volatile and more accessible.
Assets for these investments seem to be coming from safer investments, and advisors plan to reallocate Treasuries (47%), high-yield bonds (33%) and cash (33%) over the next year.
“Fear is softening,” Greenshields said. “There is still a lot of hesitancy, but because the global economy kept on going [despite the crash], that has encouraged investors to dip a few more toes in the water.”
Even so, advisors should brace themselves for an uphill battle—while they appear to be bullish, the same doesn’t appear to be true for their clients. Advisors say that only 10% of those clients who are five years from retirement are getting more aggressive in their investments, whereas about half of clients are less aggressive than they were before the crash. Greenshields’ advice is to encourage clients to proceed with caution.
“My recommendation is to encourage clients to enter risk/reward opportunities in a prudent and modest manner, in appropriately sized slices that mean a portfolio can handle volatility without crippling it,” he said.
Super-safe investments such as Treasuries, though, have had their day in the sun.
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