FSI

New FSI Poll: Financial Advisors Weigh in on Politics, the Economy, Taxes & More

November 14, 2013

Chart AnalysisWASHINGTON, D.C. - The Financial Services Institute (FSI) today released the results of the latest poll of over 2,500 independent financial advisors that focuses on the recent and possible future government shutdown, the economy, taxes and other issues impacting their Main Street clients.

According to poll results, independent financial advisors were split on whether the recent government shutdown negatively affected their clients. A significant majority of respondents (77%) believe that a short-term fix will be passed to avoid another shutdown early next year. More than half of advisors (57%) said the economy will stay flat in 2014, while 59% expect a neutral performance from the equities markets next year. And opposition to the Department of Labor's pending rule to redefine the term "fiduciary" continues to hold strong at 91%. Only 57% of financial advisors responded that they have a succession plan finalized and in place to pass along their practice once they retire.

"Financial advisors are clearly paying attention to policy and politics as Washington becomes more and more a part of their planning for their clients," said FSI President & CEO Dale Brown. "Our independent financial advisor members have a unique vantage point on these issues as they work closely with Main Street American investors on a daily basis. While they recognize the need for compromise and reforms in order to make our country financially sound, they also see how many of these significant changes will impact their clients' ability to save for retirement, pay for their children's education or care for aging parents. Financial advisor opposition to the Department of Labor's fiduciary definition proposal has also held strong over the past year. The redefinition could ban the earning of a commission on IRA advice, pricing millions of middle class investors out of the market for affordable retirement advice."

Survey Results:

Question 1: Did the federal government shutdown and fight over raising the debt ceiling affect your clients in a negative way?    

  • Yes                  46%                            
  • No                   54%

Question 2: Did your work as a financial advisor increase due to problems - real or perceived - your clients faced during the government shutdown and debt ceiling debate?                                     

  • Yes                  50%
  • No                   50%

Question 3: The deal that ended the government shutdown reopened the government through January 15, 2014, and raised the debt limit through February 7. In your opinion, will the administration and Congress agree to a "grand bargain" before January 15, pass another continuing resolution to fund the government short term, or once again shut the government down unable to work out differences? (not what they should do, but what will they do).       

  • Strike a grand bargain                         7%
  • Short-term continuing resolution     77%
  • Shut down the government                13%
  • Other                                                   3%

Question 4: Should raising taxes, cutting spending or both be considered as part of a grand bargain or cutting spending or both?

  • Raise taxes                  1%
  • Cut spending             55%
  • Both                            42%
  • Other                           5%

Question 5: Will the U.S. economy recover, stay flat or worsen in 2014?  

  • Recover                       33%
  • Stay Flat                      57%
  • Worsen                        10%

Question 6: Do you believe 2014 will be a strong, neutral or weak year for equities performance?  

  • Strong                         30%
  • Neutral                       59%
  • Weak                           11%

Question 7: Do you believe the Department of Labor should redefine the definition of "fiduciary" for financial advisors effectively banning the earning of commissions on IRA advice?  

                                      Current poll            November 2012          August 2012              February 2012

  • Yes                              9 %                            9 %                            11 %                              28 %
  • No                               91 %                         91 %                         89 %                             72 %

Question 8: Do you have a business succession plan finalized and in place?    

  • Yes                              57%
  • No                               43%

The survey was conducted in-house by FSI. All 35,000 FSI financial advisor members were emailed a link to the survey through a secure database and completed the questionnaire online. 2,528 financial advisors completed the poll which was conducted November 4-8.

About the Financial Services Institute (FSI): FSI is an advocacy organization for independent financial services firms and independent financial advisors. Established in January 2004, we have over 100 independent financial services firm members and over 35,000 financial advisor members. Our member firms have upwards of 160,000 financial advisors affiliated with them. Our mission is to create a more responsible regulatory environment for independent broker- dealers and their affiliated independent financial advisors through effective advocacy, education and public awareness. And our strategy includes involvement in FINRA governance, constructive engagement in the regulatory process and effective influence on the legislative process. For more information, please visit financialservices.org.