Most financial advisers share their clients’ level of concern about the mutual fund scandal, according to a survey of 124 financial advisers conducted by Select Sector SPDRs, for which State Street Global Advisors serves as the investment advisor. A quarter of advisers expressed little concern about the scandal, mostly because they feel the problems are limited to certain companies.

The media has blown the scandal out of proportion, say 42% of advisers. An equal number says that they are "quite upset." A third characterize their concern as "average," and a quarter feel that the scandal has helped them focus attention on fees and policies that they don’t like.

"Our survey shows us that there is no single, standard response to the mutual fund scandal," said Daniel Dolan, director of wealth management strategies at Select Sector SPDRs. "What's most interesting to us is that a substantial minority (30%) think their clients are less upset than the advisers themselves."

Almost three-quarters of advisers are generally optimistic about equity market performance this year, with 57% expecting gains below 2003 levels. Another 15% expect 2004 to at least equal 2003. Fully 21% remains uncomfortable about the market.

The survey asked a wide array of questions, including whether keeping President Bush in office would make them comfortable about their clients’ financial futures (60% said yes). More than half of advisers say they would appear on a TV reality show. Advisers prefer the concrete jungle over the tropical jungle, with 26% leaning towards a spot on Donald Trump’s "The Apprentice," versus the opportunity to outwit, outsmart and outplay their peers in "Survivor," which was the second-most popular choice at 11%.

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