Advisor outlook: How do advisors see clients and their children? (infographics)

By Vanessa De La Rosa

Recently, the semi-annual Independent Advisor Outlook Study was released by Charles Schwab Advisor Services, and it sheds some light on advisors’ views and expectations of their clients and the market. The study surveyed 1,016 advisors employed by independent advisor firms, representing a combined total of $235 billion in assets under management. Here are their responses, in the form of infographics, to five major questions concerning their outlook on clients.
1. How will Generations X and Y drive firm profitability five years from now?

The advisors participating in this study were asked: "Which of the following segments or clients drive your firm's profitability today and will drive its profitability five years from now?" Here are their responses, in percentage of total advisors:

Sixty-five percent of advisors say that women, Generation X and Generation Y are going to play a large role in their firm's profitability in five years. However, according to the study, advisors are "more actively focused on existing clients and more immediate growth opportunities." Shouldn't advisors spend more of their prospecting efforts on the target groups and generations they believe will become quite profitable in the next few years?
2. How will the next generation be different from their parents?

The survey question was posed like this: "There has been considerable talk around the 'next generation' of investors as boomers retire, Gen Xers replace boomers in the workplace, and millennials begin to acquire assets. Please select which of the following statements, in your opinion, are true or false about the next generation of investors." Here are their responses, in percentage of total advisors:

According to the study, advisors are "well aware of the growing importance of the next generation of clients to their business," but only 14 percent list the upcoming generation of clients and prospects as one of their current top priorities.
3. Is attracting and retaining clients’ children an opportunity or an obstacle?

Survey participants were asked: "What are the biggest barriers to attract your clients' children to your firm?" Here are their responses, in percentage of total advisors:

While almost all of the advisors surveyed expressed interest in building relationships with their clients' children, nearly a third of them didn't think their clients' children held enough assets to be profitable for their practices.
4. What are your clients’ primary investment goals?

Participating advisors were asked: "What percent of your clients have each of the following as their primary investment goal?" Here are their responses:

As you can see, the majority of advisors estimated that their clients' number one investment goal was creating enough retirement income to last the rest of their lives. An interesting note: The study also found that three-quarters of investors report feeling "extremely or very confident making investment decisions in collaboration with their investment professional rather than making these decisions by themselves." But nearly half of advisors (47 percent) responded that achieving their clients' investment goals in the current market will be "difficult."
5. What are the factors driving investors into the market?

Participants were asked: "Which of the following do you believe is driving investors into the market in 2013?" Here are their responses, in percentage of total advisors:

Over half of the advisors surveyed believe that the main factor driving investors to the current market is low interest rates.

Looking at the results of this study, do you think advisors' attitudes are aligned with the success they hope to achieve this year and in the near future? Which responses are dangerous to their progress?