Advisers Remain Confident—Especially about Business

Most advisers are telling clients to weather the storm, according to the latest Brinker Barometer.

The Brinker Barometer by Brinker Capital gauges financial adviser confidence in the economy. The survey for Q3 found that 61% of advisers are suggesting no changes to their clients’ investments. Twenty-eight percent of advisers are looking into alternative strategies to ensure diversified portfolios. A smaller percentages of advisers are shifting clients’ funds into less risky investments (8%) or aggressively pursuing the equity markets (3%), according to the survey.

Advisers said their clients are most concerned in this market environment about an insufficient stimulus to calm the markets (65%). Clients are also concerned about potential tax rate increases (16%), a weak U.S. dollar (9%), and inflation (9%).

Many of the respondents still seemed relatively confident in the market, as of September. Nearly half (46%) of advisers are somewhat confident in the outlook of the country’s economy and 14% are highly confident. The outlook of the stock market garnered similar responses, with 48% of advisers saying they are somewhat confident and 12% are highly confident in its performance.

The thing advisers are most confident about? Their own practices. Fifty-six percent of advisers are highly confident in the future of their practice, and 31% are somewhat confident. Almost half of advisers (48%) expect their business to grow by more than 10%, and 32% expect their business to grow by 5% to 10%.

Retirement Readiness

Slightly more advisers expect their clients to have to work past traditional retirement since the first quarter’s survey (see Advisers Say Extravagance, Procrastination Hinder Retirement Savings). The majority of advisers (76% to 100%) said only 1% of their clients will have to work in retirement, according to the survey. However, the next largest group of advisers (51% to 75%) said 19% of their clients will work in retirement. About 25% to half of advisers expect a larger chunk of clients (36%) to work past traditional retirement age.

Procrastination has also taken the lead (ironically, perhaps) as the number one obstacle to retirement savings, according to 28% of advisers. The next largest obstacle is extravagant lifestyle, followed by healthcare costs (20% and 16% of advisers, respectively).

Political Persuasion

Advisers were split on their feelings out the so-called bailout plan. Fifty-one percent said the U.S. Treasury’s proposed $700 billion bailout of private enterprise is not a fair use of tax dollars; 49% said it is. The large majority of advisers would like to see increased regulation of financial institutions (78%), according to the Brinker Barometer.

As the country heads into an election, more than half of advisers said it wouldn’t be feasible to continue the Bush tax cuts because of the government’s financial bailout of Wall Street. The majority of advisers (76%) think that Senator John McCain would be the presidential candidate who could better fix the crisis (24% are more confident in Senator Barack Obama). Advisers have been supporting the Republican candidate since the beginning of the election, according to the Barometer.

The Brinker Barometer survey was conducted online in September and had 370 respondents.