Market volatility scares clients, but it is seen as an opportunity by advisors, says the Eaton Vance Advisor Top of Mind Index released Wednesday.
Twenty-eight percent of the 1,001 advisors surveyed say volatility has strengthened their relationships with clients because it spurs more interaction with them, according to the quarterly report. In addition, 20 percent of advisors gained new clients due to ongoing market volatility.
Even though volatility is the most pressing concern for advisors right now, more of them have confidence in the economy as a whole, according to the survey. Sixty percent of advisors say the likelihood of a recession by year-end is low, which is an increase from 53 percent who felt that way in the previous quarter. Forty-five percent are expecting equity markets to remain bullish over the next quarter, while only 14 percent expect bearish markets.
“The news media has painted a negative picture of the economy when in fact advisors feel the fundamentals of the economy are doing better than in the recent past,” says John Moninger, managing director of Eaton Vance. “There is a disconnect between what the media is projecting and reality.”
Further volatility will be driven by Federal Reserve policies and by the stalled growth of the U.S. economy, according to the advisors.
Clients are more concerned about market volatility than the advisors, even though the advisors feel volatility is now the new normal. Eighty-one percent of advisors say their clients are motivated by fear, an increase from 72 percent who reported that finding a year ago. Fifty-three percent say their clients are concerned about losing money due to volatile markets and 62 percent say their clients view market volatility as a risk, not an opportunity.
“When investors are afraid, advisors can show their real value. This is the time investors seek advice,” Moninger said. “Market volatility also yields real investing opportunities. Investors should not shy away from volatility, but instead embrace it and use it to their advantage.”