Using an outside investment manager makes sense, advisors say, because it allows them to spend more time with clients. And although many still don’t outsource, the number of advisors who view it positively is rising, a new study says.

“Satisfaction [with outsourcing] hit an all-time high of 96 percent in 2016, as a majority claim outsourcing frees up more time to spend with clients,” according to the latest Northern Trust Asset Management Study, which has been polling hundreds of advisors every other year since 2010. It surveyed 550 financial advisors.

About half of the respondents said they have been able to expand their business as a result of using an external manager. Still, not all advisors are outsourcing investment management services. The study also found that significantly fewer advisors (17 percent) are outsourcing all investment activities than in the past, but more advisors (41 percent) report using outside management for over 75 percent of their assets under management.

“Using a third-party manager,” said Marie Dzanis, head of intermediary distribution at Northern Trust, “can be a win-win for advisors and clients, as demonstrated by the percentage of client assets being outsourced.”

“A majority of respondents do not currently outsource, but most have” not ruled it out, the study said,

Why don't more advisors use outside managers?

Some respondents prefer in-house investment management because it “is core to a firm’s value proposition,” the study said.

Northern Trust has some $6.4 trillion in assets under custody. It also manages some $906 billion, according to the Chicago-based trust company.