A recent cartoon in The New Yorker surely sums up many retirement investors' feelings toward their financial advisers: It depicts them being sacrificed to a volcano.

There is no getting around the fact that it is an intimidating time to be a financial adviser. Clients' retirement portfolios got slammed last year, and many investors are understandably furious. But mutual fund and brokerage executives say too many advisers are responding by doing the exact wrong thing: avoiding their clients.

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