The majority of advisors expect the current bull market to continue in the United States, although many are hedging their bets by diversifying clients’ portfolios, according to a survey by Aberdeen Asset Management released Wednesday.
Fifty-nine percent of advisors think the bull market will continue to buoy investments (with 49 percent seeing it continuing for at least three years), while 41 percent see it reversing course in the near future, according to the RIA Survey of 120 advisors conducted in July.
However, advisors disagree about the best way to diversify client holdings to manage against a potential market downturn, the survey reveals. Thirty-eight percent of advisors are allocating more to international and emerging market equities, while 27 percent are cutting back on equity exposure and allocating more to U.S. fixed income and alternatives. Twenty-six percent are continuing to ride the bull market in expectations of ongoing growth in U.S. equities.
“Risk is a constant that needs to be at the forefront of investment decisions,” says Mickey Janvier, head of business development, wealth management at Aberdeen. “These results highlight the fact that advisors are increasingly complementing their U.S. equity exposures by adding to relatively uncorrelated assets classes.”
When evaluating whether an investment is appropriate for a client, 47 percent of advisors rank market risk and macro-economic trends as the most important, followed by 17 percent who think default risk and the quality of underlying investments are most important, 14 percent who rank inflation or purchasing power risk at the top, 12 percent who give top consideration to the age of the investor and mortality risk and 10 percent who put liquidity risk on top.
“We believe business fundamentals will continue to support the U.S. equity market for the long-term investor,” adds Janvier. “With the macroeconomic environment remaining constrained, due to events like the Fed tightening its policy, the Greek debt crisis and negative impacts of a strong U.S. dollar, in our view, it’s important for investors to take a bottom-up approach to help navigate this environment as markets become more [discriminating] and sector and stock dispersion increase.”