The Results Are In: The FlexShares Financial Advisor Wellness Survey

Last year was a challenging one on multiple fronts, but, broadly speaking, financial advisors proved their mettle to clients, adding assets along the way.

FlexShares’ third financial advisor wellness survey of over 450 advisors found most advisors added assets and new clients last year, indicating the pandemic put a premium on financial advice.

“Only 7% reported a decline in assets and 6% a decline in clients. The shift to remote work did not impede business growth for most, as advisors indicated that the impact of COVID-19 on managed assets was relatively neutral,” according to the survey. “And, they found several positive outcomes from pandemic-related changes, such as increased time with family (51%) and an opportunity to rethink their role or business model (46%).”

The coronavirus pandemic is altering an array of industries, including finance, particularly with respect to how advisors are working with clients.

“Despite the challenges that marked 2020 — including approximately seven in 10 advisors being uprooted from their normal work environment — overall career satisfaction and work-life balance were virtually unchanged and largely positive. Advisors reported occupational satisfaction of 78% in 2020, as compared to 76% in 2018. This may be due to the fact that advisor satisfaction is primarily driven by factors that were reinforced throughout the pandemic,” according to FlexShares.

More Survey Insights

Just before the pandemic, the decade-long bull run saw passive strategies come to the forefront while interest in active funds took a back seat.

“When asked what they loved most about being a financial advisor, respondents overwhelmingly stated the ability to help and provide service to those who need it (58%), followed by independence and flexibility (19%) and the relationships that they form (13%),” notes FlexShares. “Moreover, when asked about pandemic ‘silver linings,’ approximately a third of respondents (36%) reported that the pandemic provided a renewed sense of purpose in their work.”

Meanwhile, with 10-year yields ticking higher off rising inflation expectations due to the aggressive fiscal and monetary policies, fixed income assets like inflation-protected securities have attracted more attention, providing advisors with additional avenues to engage clients and add value.

“Advisors’ overall stress level in 2020 (48.4%) was essentially on par with 2018 (48.2%), despite unique challenges,” according to the FlexShares survey. “Their main source of stress was political uncertainty (48.3%), outweighing factors such as state of the markets (41%), the top source of stress in 2018. Beyond the political climate, advisors remain consistently stressed from building their business (44.3%) and compliance and regulatory matters (43.5%), which also ranked highly as sources of stress in 2018. These percentages were derived from a scale with “100%” being most stressful.”

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The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.