Curian Capital, LLC ( www.Curian.com) has released the results of its fifth annual survey of more than 1,000 independent financial advisors appointed to sell Curian products. The survey, “2012 Outlook for Advisor Priorities,” highlights an increasing trend toward alternative investment and tactical asset allocation strategies to help mitigate a still-turbulent economic environment. The survey also found that product providers’ technology capabilities have a dramatic impact on advisors’ use of their products, with an overwhelming majority of the advisors surveyed reporting they prefer more sophisticated and high-quality platforms.
The survey elicited responses from advisors in four main areas –– economic outlook; product selection and investment strategies; platforms and education; and practice management. Key findings of the survey include:
Advisors’ outlook on the global economy is split nearly evenly — 34 percent of respondents believe the economic crisis will get better in the near future, 32 percent believe the crisis will be long term and 34 percent were unsure. Given this striking disparity among advisors, it is likely they will have a significantly fractured approach to portfolio management strategies in the year ahead.The survey also found that government spending topped the list of advisors’ perceived threats to their clients’ retirement accounts at 35 percent, followed closely by market volatility at 31 percent. Last year, advisors said that not generating enough income to last through retirement was the biggest threat to their clients’ retirement plans; however, in this survey, 82% of respondents reported that they have the adequate income-generating investment products to meet their clients’ retirement needs. Product Selection and Investment Strategies Nearly two-thirds of advisors say that they have begun using more tactical asset allocation strategies to help mitigate market volatility, and more than half of respondents report they have begun using more alternative investing strategies. More than 60 percent of advisors also plan to increase their use of alternatives over the next year. Nearly 80 percent of those already using alternatives say their primary goal is to diversify and stabilize portfolio returns.