BOSTON, Oct. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Volatile markets continue to weigh heavily on the minds of financial advisors, according to the most recent Advisor Top-of-Mind Index (ATOMIX) survey conducted by Eaton Vance. Volatility surged to 122.3 on the ATOMIX index, the highest survey rating ever and a significant rise from its Q3 rating.
More than half (55%) of financial advisors said protecting client wealth from volatility increased in importance over the last 12 months.
"Volatility's unpredictability has made investors uncomfortable in the current market environment and reduced confidence in their ability to reach their goals," said John Moninger, managing director at Eaton Vance. "Despite their own rising concerns, we believe advisors are doing their best to help their clients navigate increasing volatility by staying calm, focused and opportunistic."
Advisors also are divided over what recent volatility means for markets going forward. Thirty-nine percent said it is somewhat likely to lead to an equity bear market. Sixteen percent said it most likely will, while 38% said a bear market is not likely at all. Advisor age is a distinguishing factor, as 50% of advisors from the baby boomer generation believe in the likelihood of a bear market, while 61% of advisors from younger generations share the same sentiment.
Edward Perkin, Chief Equity Investment Officer at Eaton Vance, views the pickup in volatility as the market's attempt to price uncertainty. "History has shown that the best opportunities tend to present themselves when uncertainty is running high," Mr. Perkin said.
The survey revealed an advisor consensus on how to react to today's volatile markets. Half (51%) said the strategy they most often employ with their clients in times of increased stock market volatility is to stay the course.
Mr. Moninger tends to agree, but cautions advisors that doing nothing is not a strategy. "Investors should resist the temptation to be motivated by fear," he said. "Adhering to long-term investment strategies in times of market volatility is prudent, but only if investors are prepared and have a strategy in place that factors in periods of increased market volatility."
Despite persistent worries about volatility, half (48%) of advisors said they expect the major stock indexes to finish positive for the year. Nearly one-third (29%) reported they expect a flat finish, while 17% stated they expect markets to finish in the red for 2015.
Of note, women advisors were far less bullish, with only 37% expecting a positive year for the indices, versus 50% of their male counterparts.
Eaton Vance's quarterly ATOMIX survey is part of an ongoing study that measures the overall importance of key issues facing financial advisors and their clients, combined with how fast these issues are increasing in importance. See full results at eatonvance.com/atomix.
Eaton Vance ATOMIX Methodology
The Q4 ATOMIX was calculated based on the findings of a survey of 1,001 financial advisors from a diverse group of companies. Eaton Vance contracted with a third party to conduct the online survey from September 3 – 25, 2015. ATOMIX uses a similar methodology as the U.S. Consumer Confidence Index* (which has no affiliation with Eaton Vance) in that it calculates a weighted average of current perceptions (40% of the Index) and what advisors think about the trends (60% of the Index). The Index set a baseline average of 100 for April 2014. Each component measured is tracked quarterly to illustrate changes in advisor perceptions and changes in trends over time. Future surveys will sample different financial advisors and may produce different results.
Eaton Vance Corp. (NYSE:EV) is one of the oldest investment management firms in the world with a history dating to 1924. Eaton Vance and its affiliates managed $298.9 billion in assets as of September 30, 2015, offering individuals and institutions a broad array of investment strategies and wealth management solutions. The Company's long record of providing exemplary service, timely innovation and attractive returns through a variety of market conditions has made Eaton Vance the investment manager of choice for many of today's most discerning investors. For more information, visit eatonvance.com.
* The monthly Consumer Confidence Survey®, based on a probability-design random sample, is conducted for The Conference Board by Nielsen, a leading global provider of information and analytics around what consumers buy and watch. The Consumer Confidence Index was started in 1967 and is benchmarked to 1985=100. The Index is calculated each month based on a household survey of consumers' opinions on current conditions and future expectations of the economy. Opinions on current conditions make up 40% of the index, with expectations of future conditions comprising the remaining 60%.
Follow us - @eatonvance
SOURCE Eaton Vance Corp.