More investment professionals than the number earlier this year are optimistic that 2013 will generate economic growth. But that bullish forecast comes with a caveat: The financial services industry needs to restore market integrity, according to the CFA Institute 2013 Global Market Sentiment Survey.
Forty percent of CFA Institute members surveyed say the global economy will expand in 2013 -- a 6 point increase over last year’s poll. Yet they also believe members of the financial services community need to roll up their collective sleeves to restore financial market integrity.
Poll respondents cited an overwhelming lack of trust in finance, and a majority of members indicated that the primary fix will be to encourage a culture of ethics and integrity inside financial firms. “There is mounting optimism around global economic growth from both investors and the financial industry, despite ongoing issues like the European sovereign debt crisis and significantly greater concern about mis-selling,” Kurt Schacht, managing director of standards and financial market integrity at CFA Institute, said in a statement.
Schacht said the financial services industry has also become more vocal about the behavior that led to the global financial crisis, and member respondents firmly believe financial firms must cultivate a stronger ethical culture. “Our members are convinced that to build a more trustworthy industry, change must start with top management to develop a culture where ethical practice is just as important as investment performance,” he said.
Other survey highlights of this year include:
• Global Economy Expected To Improve. Forty percent of those polled expect the global economy to expand; only 20 percent believe it will contract, down from 29 percent a year ago.
• Optimism For Local Economies (Except Europe). Forty-five percent of investment professionals think the economies of their own countries will expand in 2013, up slightly from 42 percent last year. In contrast, only 28 percent of those respondents in Europe expect their economies to expand in 2013.
• Equities Expected To Outperform All Asset Classes. Half of respondents think equities will provide the highest expected total return in 2013 -- up from 41 percent a year ago -- when compared with bonds, cash, commodities and precious metals.
• Ethical Cultures And Behavior Of Financial Firms Must Change. Fifty-six percent of respondents cite a lack of ethical culture within financial firms as the primary contributor to the low level of industry trust. Respondents think the most effective remedy is improved ethical culture from top management.
• Better Enforcement Favored Over Creating New Laws. Twenty-four percent of respondents said the important industry/regulatory action for improving market trust and confidence in 2013 is enforcement of existing laws.
• Mis-selling Of Financial Products Top Ethical Concern Locally. Mis-selling. The pushing of unsuitable products to obtain a commission or failure to provide advice tailored to the client’s needs -- will be the most serious ethical issue in 2013.