A recent survey by John Hancock identified four areas in which affluent investors would like more help. This is a sign that skilled financial advice remains in demand in a world where investors have more options than ever.
The 2015 John Hancock Investor Sentiment Survey, a quarterly poll of 1,049 affluent investors, found that 38 percent of investors polled said they would like help from an advisor, 37 percent said they want advice about taking enough investment risk to generate portfolio growth risk, 33 percent want help creating a formal financial plan and 25 percent want estate planning guidance. The survey questioned investors with household income of at least $75,000 and assets of $100,000.
Despite these investors seeing themselves as a “relatively sophisticated” group, more than four in 10 admitted to gaps in their financial planning and said they would like professional help to bridge those gaps.
The survey also found that 63 percent of the investors prefer to make financial decisions with guidance from a financial professional.
In the past year, the advisory business has come under some stiff competition from “roboadvisors,” or computer algorithms that can complete many of the same tasks as flesh-and-blood advisors but at a fraction of the price.
Discount brokerages like Charles Schwab and mutual fund giants like Vanguard Group recently have announced the launch of automated advisory units that offer investors more personalized advice while dropping minimum asset requirements.
Despite the competition from computer software and machines, many advisors remain confident they will not be displaced so long as they provide value in areas of long-term financial planning, retirement planning and withdrawals, estate planning, and tax-efficient investing.
Stock market gains over the past two or three years have meant that equity investors have done well generally. Results earlier this year from the same survey also found investor sentiment reaching its highest level since the survey was launched five years ago.
"More so than last year, there is a belief that 2015 will be a good year for the average investor, with 81 percent saying so versus 73 percent in the first quarter of 2014,” Megan E. Greene, chief economist of John Hancock Asset Management, said in a news release.
“Three-quarters of those surveyed also said they are optimistic that the U.S. economy will be stronger two years from now," she added.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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