Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, advisors have more than tripled the time they spend each week calming their clients’ fears, according to a survey by Fidelity released yesterday.

Moreover, an overwhelming majority of advisors said their efforts to calm clients have been successful. Fidelity surveyed 468 advisors between April 8 and April 13 for the “Financial Advisors Share Their Perspectives” report.

The amount of time spent dealing with clients’ worries jumped from four hours a week during the long-running bull market to 14 hours a week by mid-April, according to the survey. Sixty-four percent said they have been successful and another 25% said they have been completely successful in calming clients’ fears.

“Advisors are spending more and more time on what’s most important to their clients, beyond money management,” Matt Goulet, senior vice president of portfolio solutions at Fidelity Institutional, said in an email. “We like to say advisors are moving up the ‘value stack.’ They’re focusing more on helping clients achieve their life goals, and providing them with peace of mind, especially during uncertain times like these.

“Advisors have told us they spend about 40% of their time managing money, but we expect to see that decrease over time as advisors focus more on how best to support and add value for their clients through financial planning,” he added.

According to the survey, 88% of the advisors feel the economy will recover within two years.

Many advisors are altering their clients’ portfolios, with 76% rebalancing allocations.Thirty-seven percent are rebalancing to add diversity, 30% are doing it to increase risk and an equal percentage are doing it to decrease risk.

Nearly all of the advisors said they feel their clients’ portfolios are holding up well during the tumultuous market, but they are tweaking the portfolios or plan to do so. Forty-one percent are moving into active management. Fifty-seven percent plan to increase investments in U.S. equities and 26% will add to their clients’ investment-grade fixed-income accounts.

At the same time, 31% are decreasing their clients’ investments in international and emerging markets and 30% are decreasing their clients’ cash holdings.


 

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