Advisors feel investors are letting their anxiety over finances and the economy adversely affect their investment behavior, according to a survey released today by the Hartford Fund.

Clients are missing investment opportunities and looking for low-risk investments over higher returns, according to the survey of 128 advisors.

Fifty-seven percent of the surveyed advisors believe clients are allowing the economic anxiety to adversely affect their investments. Managing that anxiety is one of the top two concerns of advisors, along with market volatility, according to the survey.

Seventy-six percent of the advisors say their clients are placing more importance on investment safety than higher returns. Thirty-seven percent of advisors believe clients’ risk tolerance will increase this year, while 46 percent feel their clients’ risk tolerance will remain the same.

A majority of advisors are looking for alternatives to fixed-income investments. Of the advisors surveyed, 66 percent indicate the potential of rising interest rates has led them away from recommending fixed-income vehicles to their clients. The remaining 34 percent of advisors, who indicate they were not moving their clients out of fixed income, see benefits to sticking with their fixed-income strategy, such as the security bonds provide and their long-term performance potential.

When asked about client anxiety about various investment vehicles, 99 percent cited emerging market funds as the most worrisome. Sixty-five percent say international bond funds are also a cause for client anxiety. Seventy-three percent of respondents indicate their clients are least apprehensive about equity value fund products and 68 percent cite corporate bond fund products as the least concerning.

“Anxiety creates a tendency among clients to focus on negative information and, in some cases, seek it out to support their fears and concerns,” says Vernon Meyer, CIO at Hartford Funds. “Illustrating how past cycles or events have generally resulted positively can help encourage long-term thinking and make the case for a diversified and balanced portfolio.”