Advisors back Trump as better for wealth management, America

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Who’s better for business: Trump or Biden?

For many wealth managers, the answer is resoundingly President Trump.

And not just for business. A majority of advisors said that the president’s reelection would be better for the country and their industry than if former Vice President Joe Biden emerged victorious in the November election, according to a new survey by Arizent, publisher of Financial Planning, American Banker and other titles. It was conducted between Sept. 17 and Sept. 22.

Responses to the survey mirrored the mood of a deeply polarized nation, one in which victory by the opposing side is perceived as a potential catastrophe. One advisor in the survey promised to exit the business if there’s a Democratic sweep on election day.

“If Dems run the table, and change the filibuster rule, I'm done. Sell my practice and leave the country,” said the advisor, who like all other respondents, was anonymous.

Fifty-five percent of wealth managers picked Trump as better for the country, compared to just 45% who picked Biden. The result tracks closely with the overall responses of the survey, which polled approximately 1,200 financial professionals, of whom 132 were in wealth management. Fifty-six percent of all respondents picked Trump compared to 44% who picked Biden.

When it comes to their industry, 58% of wealth managers said a Trump win would be better compared to 44% who said the same of Biden. That was identical to the overall survey response.

The Trump administration has generally pursued deregulatory policies, rolling back Obama-era rules and in some cases replacing them with ones that have received a warmer reception by trade and business lobbying groups. The president and Republicans in Congress also passed tax cuts for businesses and wealthy Americans.

From regulations to taxes, big changes could be in the offing.
August 20

‘The country is burning’

A number of survey respondents expressed concerns about potential tax hikes should Biden win the presidency and Democrats take control of both houses of Congress next year. Respondents also pointed to a number of other non-business issues as top concerns: the national debt, immigration, civil unrest and media bias.

“The country is burning and far, far too many people wish to put the arsonists in charge. Too many Americans are woefully uninformed and fed propaganda by the social media and [mainstream media]. Lemmings,” wrote one wealth manager.

To be sure, the Arizent poll is not necessarily representative of the nation as 40% of survey respondents said they were registered as Republicans, 26% as independents and 24% as Democrats. A recent Gallup survey of Americans found that 29% of respondents identified as Republicans, 40% as independents and 30% as Democrats.

A Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, conducted in September, found that 51% of Americans would vote for Biden and 43% would vote for Trump if the election were held today.

In the Arizent survey, financial professionals split along party lines when it came to the most urgent issues that will need addressing after the November election.

A full 79% of Democrats surveyed named the coronavirus pandemic as an urgent priority, compared to just 58% of Republicans.

Of Republican respondents, 71% picked the national debt as an urgent priority, compared to just 26% of Democrats.

Sixty-seven percent of independents said coronavirus was an urgent priority; 51% said the same about the national debt.

Some respondents also expressed concerns that the election results may not be fair and may be contested.

A wealth manager who identified as an independent worried that Trump would not willingly leave office if he lost the election. “He is already trying to create an atmosphere of distrust of the mail-in voting process in order to dispute the election results,” the wealth manager said.

Another advisor, also identifying as an independent, echoed that sentiment. “Trump is a threat to our democracy and the laws and institutions that govern its stability,” the advisor said.

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