In contrast to naming one or more issues from a predetermined list that were considered to be the biggest threats to their practice, advisors addressed each and every threat, ranking them on a scale of one (least) to ten (most). Not surprisingly, the top four threats remained the same as last year: government overregulation, finding new clients, increased compliance demands, and volatile/flat markets. However, within those, it is interesting to note that government overregulation took the top spot from finding new clients. Other responses that moved up in the ranking this year include downward fee pressure and competition from online service offerings. Clearly these two may be related and we noted some similar findings in our chapter on Robo Advisors. Factors that appear to of very little worry to advisors include competition from CPAs, communication with employees, and lack of exit strategy/succession plan, also consistent with our observations from the 2014 survey. Nearly all of the other factors are generally tightly bunched in the middle of the distribution of responses and are generally consistent with last year.
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