Seventy-two percent of financial professionals now view themselves as planners, whose primary role is to help clients navigate all their financial needs, not just their investment portfolios, according to the survey. About half described themselves as financial coaches or therapists.

Although robo-advisors are receiving a lot of attention, 60% of the advisors surveyed said their main competition comes from other traditional financial professionals. However, they foresee a range of new challengers within the next five years, such as technology companies, other innovators within and outside the financial industry, self-directed investing tools, and automated advice platforms.

The survey showed advisors are trying to improve their client services by creating greater efficiency; streamlining their client base; segmenting clients by age or wealth level, and specializing in niche client groups.

Given uncertainty in the market and ongoing volatility, 81% of financial professionals said they believe the current market is favorable for active portfolio managers. For those surveyed, 68% of their client assets are in actively managed investments. The respondents said they believe active management adds the greatest value to less covered asset classes like small-cap equity funds and emerging market funds.

“Financial professionals are re-evaluating investment assumptions and strategizing for more potentially uncertain markets and business scenarios,” Marina Gross, executive vice president at Natixis Investment Managers Solutions, said in a statement. “Investing involves a balance of efficiency, creativity and consistency, and that’s what we are seeing as more advisors incorporate a mix of model portfolios and customized or alternative strategies into client portfolios.”

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