Investment Trend Monitor

WealthManagement.com has teamed up with FUSE Research Network on an important series of research studies designed to explore advisor views on critical topics that are of special interest to the asset management community. The reports provide the reader with insights to what advisors are thinking to assist decision making.

Advisor Plans for Retirement Income

Planning for retirement income represents a sizeable portion of most advisors’ practices—but advisors differ on the best ways to produce that income. While mutual funds and ETFs enjoy near-universal approval as retirement planning products, there is much less agreement on annuities and life insurance products. RIAs in particular are much less likely to use guaranteed products than advisors in other channels. That’s the finding of a recent study by WealthManagement.com and FUSE Research Network, which surveyed more than 700 advisors on how they approach clients’ retirement income needs.

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Trends In Variable Annuities

Many advisors expect to maintain their current use of variable annuities over the next five years, but some advisors, particularly those from large firms, are more likely to anticipate a slight increase in their use of this product. This was one of the findings of a recent WealthManagement.com and FUSE Research Network survey of more than 630 advisors and financial professionals about their use of variable annuities.

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Variable Annuities: A Tool for Retirement Income Planning

Advisors are most likely to use variable annuities in clients’ portfolios for retirement income planning purposes, but they also turn to these products for principal protection and tax-deferred growth. This was one of the findings of a recent WealthManagement.com and FUSE Research Network survey of more than 630 advisors and financial professionals about their use of variable annuities.

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Top Trends in 2016

Advisors are almost evenly split between viewing roboadvisors as competition and seeing the automated online services as an opportunity to grow their businesses with small clients. This insight was one of the findings of a recent survey by WealthManagement.com and FUSE Research Network of 847 advisors and financial professionals about top trends for 2016.

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Retirement Plan Advisor Investment Strategies

Given the uncertain legislative environment, how do advisors make investment selections within corporate retirement plans? What products do they favor and how do factors such as cost and plan risk influence their decisions? See the results of a study of over 300 retirement plan advisors, in which half of respondents report managing $50 or more in retirement plan assets. This section also offers articles and videos that can inform corporate retirement plan investment choices.

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Views on Wholesalers

Advisors appreciate the value wholesalers provide to their practices, particularly through new product information and updates on existing products. But advisors want more help in other areas, including retirement planning and marketing. That was just one of the findings of a recent survey of more than 740 advisors about their views on wholesalers. The survey was part of a recent study by WealthManagement.com and FUSE Research Network.

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Views on Marketing Support

Advisors report that firm marketing support is most helpful when it contributes to their knowledge about specific products. That was just one of the findings of a recent survey by WealthManagement.com and FUSE Research Network of more than 771 advisors about their views on firm marketing support.

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Advisor Use of Financial Products

Mutual funds are the most popular investment product with advisors industrywide, with large-cap domestic equity funds topping the list of tools advisors use to address clients’ goals. Perhaps not surprisingly, advisors reported that hedge funds, private equity and limited partnerships accounted for the smallest portions of clients’ portfolios. These are the findings of a recent study by WealthManagement.com and FUSE Research Network, which surveyed more than 680 advisors on their product usage.

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Advisor Use of Variable Annuities

Variable annuities offer a number of potential benefits: They can help plan retirement income, generate tax-deferred growth and protect principal. Yet even advisors who recognize the products’ benefits acknowledge their drawbacks—particularly their fees and the tax treatment of gains, according to more than 950 advisors surveyed about variable annuities as part of a recent study by WealthManagement.com and FUSE Research Network.

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Advisor Use of Alternative Investments

Financial advisors see the use of alternative investments growing substantially by 2016, both in terms of the number of clients who invest in alternatives and the percentage of each client’s portfolio that alternatives represent. That’s the finding of a recent study by WealthManagement.com and FUSE Research Network, which surveyed more than 700 advisors to determine how they use, view and define alternative investments.

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Rep As Portfolio Manager

Advisor-directed, representative as portfolio manager (Rep as PM) platforms have been widely embraced by the industry. The platforms allow advisors to respond quickly to changing market conditions, and some advisors believe the technology allows them to manage their client accounts more effectively. However, the popularity of the platforms varies among advisors from different channels. RIAs in particular are less likely to use the platform compared to large national firms and wirehouses, according to a recent study by WealthManagement.com and FUSE Research Network, which surveyed more than 740 advisors Rep as PM platforms.

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