Some 93% of advisors report that clients have reached out to them with concerns about their retirement prospects and that requests for retirement plan trades are soaring since the start of the Covid-19 crisis, according to a survey from The American College of Financial Services.

Increases in client calls and emails to advisors spiked 27% and requests for retirement plan trades increased 32% in the past month, which has seen some of the steepest declines and gains every recorded in stock market history, the new survey found.

“Our findings show a real and marked increase in anxiety, which is certainly understandable given how quickly things have shifted in a month,” said Wade Pfau, co-director of the Center for Retirement Income at The American College of Financial Services.

“The good news, though, is that we’re also seeing advisors and clients alike increasing their communication with each other to respond to these concerns, which is the key ingredient to successful financial planning."

A number of advisors interviewed by Financial Advisor say they've made their top priority to call and email clients—not only to answer concerns and calm client fears, but to explain their firms’ investment strategy during and after the crisis.

Chris Cordaro, who manages RegentAtlantic’s $3.4 billion portfolio, told clients in a quarterly letter this week  that he is “patiently waiting ... biding time until we see the indications that the worst of the storm is in sight” before full-scale portfolio rebalancing.

“The economic impact of Covid-19 is much like a hurricane: It is powerful, dangerous, and temporary. Once this storm passes, some things may change, but the vast majority of our daily lives will return to normal,” Cordaro said.

Strategic, honest and detailed communications from advisors are something that investors crave right now, according to Pfau, who said the American College conducted the survey to determine how clients’ sentiments changed in the past month.

Not surprising, over 59% of advisors reported that clients are more concerned about their retirement prospects than they were a month ago due to the escalating impact of the pandemic and resulting market volatility, the survey found.

Investors are also asking for adjustments in their retirement plans. Some 68% of advisors reported having clients that have made changes to their retirement plans as a result of the pandemic and market volatility, compared to only 36% one month ago, the survey found.

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