The number of financial advisors who feel their clients’ aversion to risk will increase in the next year jumped dramatically in the past year, according to a study by Hartford Funds released Wednesday.
Thirty-five percent of the 103 advisors included in the survey believe their clients will be more concerned about investment risk in the upcoming months, a substantial jump from the 17 percent of advisors who felt that way a year ago, Hartford Funds says.
At the same time, advisors are almost evenly split on whether they think aversion to risk has interfered with their clients’ investment decisions in the past year. Fifty-two percent feel anxiety has affected their investment decisions, while 48 percent say it has not. A similar survey taken at the beginning of the year showed 57 percent of advisors felt their clients' anxiety was affecting their decisions.
“Investing has never been without some level of anxiety and this year’s survey results underscore the need for advisors to continue recognizing and addressing this behavior for more productive client relationships,” says John Diehl, senior vice president at Hartford Funds. “The same is true of investment opportunities where consumers may lack understanding, such as international equities -- particularly in the midst of geo-political turmoil. Advisors will discover that education breeds confidence, which often trumps fear and can be an effective resource in any advisor’s toolkit.”
Diehl adds, “From media headlines about volatility to flashbacks to 2008, advisors are helping consumers juggle anxiety related to both information and memory overload. As the advisory role becomes more complex and the approach to retirement planning more holistic, navigating challenging conversations and better understanding of the client mindset is an increasingly critical component of a successful practice.”