Advisors Optimistic About Year Ahead;
Need to Adapt to Changing Investor Behavior
OAKS, PA–(Marketwired – Dec 5, 2014) – Despite concerns about a market correction, a majority of advisors are optimistic about 2015 market performance, according to an SEI (NASDAQ: SEIC) Quick Poll released today. Nearly 96 percent of advisors surveyed felt either cautiously optimistic or excited about the coming year, with almost 85 percent believing that the markets will be as good, or better, than they were in 2014. The survey consisted of 463 financial advisors.
“Advisors have clearly taken note of how strong the markets have been in 2014, even in the face of geopolitical uncertainty and shifting investor sentiment,” said Steve Onofrio, Senior Vice President, Sales and Service, SEI Advisor Network. “These periods of positive market momentum are the perfect time to reassess clients’ progress towards goals and develop strategies in the event of a market pullback.”
In addition to market optimism for 2015, advisors express their views on a variety of “hot button” topics including drivers of firm growth, client service and segmentation trends, retirement planning, and integrating technology in the coming year. Specifics around those findings are as follows:
More than 58 percent of advisors surveyed said that the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) would finish 2015 above the 17,500 mark. The DJIA first reached that mark on Nov. 6. Advisors’ optimism goes beyond market data, though, with 72 percent anticipating firm growth greater than 5 percent over the next year. Thirty-three percent felt that their firm would grow between 10 and 15 percent.
Client Service and Segmentation
As advisors increasingly shift their focus to fostering growth while maintaining a level of consistent service, many are experiencing growth-related challenges. Nearly 40 percent of advisors identified finding the right types of clients as the biggest challenge they face, indicating that proper client segmentation is still an opportunity for many firms.
“Segmentation that goes beyond the traditional strategies and focuses more on niche marketing efforts builds stronger relationships with clients and helps advisors grow more intelligently,” said Onofrio. “Segmenting by client needs and goals allows advisors to create tailored communications and provide more relevant service offerings, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.”
Advisors noted a number of different changes in investor behavior throughout 2014. Almost 24 percent said that compared to 2013 their clients were generally more pessimistic, and nearly 23 percent said that their clients were more reactionary to market movement. Nineteen percent of advisors are increasingly discussing goals more than risk tolerance with their clients. The same number (19 percent) said that their clients looked for different places in which to invest their money during the year.
Retirement Planning and Technology
Retirement planning continues to be an important issue and an opportunity for advisors to increase their value. More than 86 percent said that their clients were missing key information in discussing a comprehensive retirement plan.
Three-quarters of poll respondents said that integrating technology to increase their efficiency is a high-priority item in 2015. More and more advisors (37 percent) are communicating with their clients most frequently through email. However, traditional methods of communication remain the norm throughout the industry, with a combined 61 percent still utilizing phone calls or face-to-face meetings more often.
About The SEI Advisor Network
The SEI Advisor Network provides financial advisors with turnkey wealth management services through outsourced investment strategies, administration and technology platforms, and practice management programs. It is through these services that SEI helps advisors save time, grow revenues, and differentiate themselves in the market. With a history of financial strength, stability, and transparency, the SEI Advisor Network has been serving the independent financial advisor market for more than 20 years, has over 5,700 advisors who work with SEI, and $45.4 billion in advisors’ assets under management (as of September 30, 2014). The SEI Advisor Network is a strategic business unit of SEI. For more information, visit seic.com/advisors.
SEI (NASDAQ: SEIC) is a leading global provider of investment processing, investment management, and investment operations solutions that help corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and ultra-high-net-worth families create and manage wealth. As of September 30, 2014, through its subsidiaries and partnerships in which the company has a significant interest, SEI manages or administers $612 billion in mutual fund and pooled or separately managed assets, including $249 billion in assets under management and $363 billion in client assets under administration. For more information, visit seic.com.