Advisor confidence crept up again in October, buoyed in part by clients' year-end tax planning moves.
After falling in September to a low for the year, the Retirement Advisor Confidence Index - Financial Planning's monthly barometer of business conditions for wealth managers - edged up two points to a reading of 54.5.
As tax planning season got closer, advisors reported higher readings for various retirement plan activities. Risk tolerance also rose modestly, while client allocations to equities accelerated.
"Clients are increasing their positions on retirements plans in order to take tax return benefits in January," one advisor noted. Another two respondents cited clashing employment trends - one a round of local layoffs that boosted rollover activity, and the other an increase in hiring that brought more employees into company-sponsored retirement plans.
Advisors continued to fret about the Obamacare rollout and national politics in the latest survey, which asked respondents to focus on September activity. Yet their clients seemed to be focused on market moves.
"Clients seemed to be more interested in making contributions to their retirement plans in spite of some political headwinds," one planner said.
Yet another respondent credited challenging market conditions with driving an increase in business. "Individuals are more likely to seek the advice of a professional because conditions have become more and more complicated," the planner said. "This is not a do-it-yourself market."
The index is composed of 10 factors - including asset allocations, investment product recommendations, economic and risk factors, taxes and planning fees - to track trends in wealth management business cycles.
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