Uncertainty and anxiety about the future of international markets may be skewing financial advisor client advice on global investing, according to a Russell Investments survey of U.S. advisors released today.
While some advisors say they're still open to investing in an increasingly globalized world, others say they're struggling to address their clients' fears about global investing, with 40 percent saying they have altered their approach to global investing in the last 5 years, according to the survey.
Overall, 68 percent of advisors surveyed said they are optimistic about the capital markets over the next three years. Yet, likely reflecting concerns about Europe, only 39 percent indicated optimism about the developed international markets and just 5 percent believe clients are optimistic about developed international markets, according to Russell. Advisors continue to report that global events (38 percent) and market volatility (49 percent) are among the top subjects of client-initiated conversations.
Many respondents pointed to a relative preference for U.S. equities, general uncertainty about the global markets and client demands to avoid exposure to Europe as reasons for changing their strategies. Only 18 percent of those who changed their global investment strategies in the last five years indicated increasing global exposure.
Advisors surveyed said they are either keeping global allocations at policy weights or only making slight adjustments. However, 48 percent indicated that they are making decreases from portfolio policies around global equity investing for their clients with relatively short time horizons. Thirty percent of advisors reported doing so for clients with relatively long time horizons.
Yet despite such a dour international investment outlook, some advisors still remain committed to global investing, according to Russell. To gain global equity exposure in clients' portfolios, advisors are using global equity active mutual funds (66 percent), followed by global equity allocations within a diversified fund (48 percent) as well as global equity ETFs (32 percent). Global equity index-tracking mutual funds (12 percent) and country-specific mutual funds (11 percent) were among the least popular options selected.
In terms of specific investments from which to gain global equity exposure in clients' portfolios, advisors pointed to global equity active mutual funds, global equity allocations within a diversified fund and global equity ETFs as their top choices.
Russell's survey is based upon responses from more than 300 financial advisors working in 105 national, regional and independent advisory firms nationwide. The survey was conducted between July 31 and Aug. 14.