Financial advisors are keeping a close watch on geopolitical issues, namely the presidential election, impeachment, the trade war and Brexit.

In fact, these are the top concerns for more than almost one-third of advisors (64%), according to a study conducted by Independent Advisor Solutions by SEI, which explores their outlook on various markets, clients and business factors heading into the new year.

The research showed that advisors are expecting a downturn within the next one to two years. Forty-two percent predict a market downturn in 2021, while 27% believe it will occur sooner, in 2020. But despite that sentiment, only 21% of advisors cited a big market correction as the top worrisome factor for themselves and their clients heading into 2020.

The research pointed to a disconnect between advisors’ expectations and their immediate goals for 2020. It said that while advisors recognize the evolving investor and need to adapt their client experience accordingly, only 14% cited improving the investor experience as their top goal for 2020. Eleven percent chose refining their client niche to help grow their businesses and just 1% cited changing the way they charge fees as a top goal.

But when asked how they see the client experience/process evolving over the next five to 10 years, 32% said they will customize every client experience according to specific client needs, while 26% of advisors expect to segment clients by size/need and tailor the experience and services by segment.

A majority of advisors (62%) are looking to take advantage of business opportunities by promoting upgrades and creating new offerings for clients through segmentation and niche identification over the next year or two. Fifty-six percent said technology affords them the greatest opportunity to improve the client experience, and 40% chose millennial investors looking for advice as the third highest opportunity (40%).

While geopolitical and market concerns are top of mind, many advisors predict a bright future. Nearly half (45%) believe it will be easier to grow their businesses over the next five to 10 years; 18% believe younger investors’ use of robo- or hybrid-advice platforms will be a business growth challenge.

Meanwhile, just 7% of advisors said the lack of time and budgets for adopting the necessary technology is a hurdle for future business growth.

The online survey, conducted from December 2 to December 13, generated responses from 400 independent financial advisors and included clients and non-clients of SEI.