More than a third of investors in a recent survey say they feel overwhelmed by their investment choices, which presents a good opportunity for financial advisors to gain business by simplifying the process, says MFS Investment Management.

In addition, 40% of those surveyed say they feel investment products are overly complex, according to the MFS Investing Sentiment Survey.
"Investors have a ton of information at their fingertips, but that is not knowledge or perspective," says William Finnegan, senior managing director of global retail marketing for MFS, a money management firm based in Boston with offices around the globe.

"That is most likely why the need for professional advice is on the rise," he adds. "Investors are stymied by complexity and want a financial advisor to provide insight into and knowledge from the information swirling around them."

Of those surveyed, 34% say they feel overwhelmed by their investment choices and one-quarter have put off decisions out of fear of making the wrong choice, the survey says.

Overall, 40% say investment products are overly complex, but that number goes to 51% for Gen Y investors, or those born between 1980 and 1993.

However, Gen Y members also are the most likely (57%) to say the information they find on the Internet is just as good as what they would get from a financial advisor. For Gen Xers the percentage that agreed with that statement is 47% and for baby boomers it is 35%.

One-quarter of investors agree their need for professional financial advice has increased in the past 12 months, with 45% of Gen Y members agreeing with that statement and 34% of Gen X members agreeing.

The percentage that has asked for more information from their financial advisor in the last 12 months is 36% on average, and up to 63% for Gen Y members.

At the same time, 62% of the survey sample would like to be more knowledgeable about investing and 81% expect their financial advisor to keep them informed about new and innovative investment products.

"Investors indicate a strong inclination to maintain at least some control over their financial picture, and we should encourage high levels of involvement," Finnegan says. "However with that involvement comes exposure to complex ideas that financial advisors are better positioned to address. Investors are acknowledging the need for more professional investment advice to both validate their thinking and to answer their complicated questions."

The survey was taken of 974 investors with $100,000 or more in investable assets.