US Investment Outlook 2017

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Advisors expect a choppy ride in 2017 but many anticipate markets will perform favorably. This suggests advisors see investment opportunities, especially in higher risk assets, despite the turbulent environment.

Three out of five (59%) US advisors believe markets will not stabilize in 2017 following the global volatility seen over the past twelve months. Furthermore, seven in ten advisors (71%) believe a tail risk event is likely to happen within the next three years.

But despite expectations of persistent volatility, advisors remain optimistic that markets in general will continue rising. Almost nine in 10 (87%) believe the S&P 500 will increase in 2017.
Half (51%) of advisors have invested in riskier assets as they search for yield amid the low interest rate environment, with equities being the chief beneficiary. Advisors are bullish on US equities, with seven in 10 (71%) believing they will be one of the top three performing asset classes in 2017, followed by emerging market equities (62%) and global equities (58%).
But when it comes to fixed income, advisors are slightly more positive on the prospects for emerging market debt (16%) than on US fixed income (11%).
With four in five advisors (80%) saying Federal Reserve policy affects the way they invest, the number and timing of any rate increases in 2017 could help shape investment strategies.
Meanwhile, three quarters (75%) of advisors believe active management will take on increased importance in 2017. Value investing also seems set to make a comeback, with six in 10 (62%) advisors believing value funds will outperform growth funds in 2017.

Elsewhere, advisors could be missing a trick when it comes to harnessing technology to improve their services. While the majority (67%) email clients timely updates in response to market events, less than two fifths have implemented other services such as online video conference tools, online dashboards or social media.
Advisors also seem split on automated advice. While seven in 10 (70%) believe the industry is moving in the direction of automated advice, almost half (48%) of advisor firms are not considering launching an automated advice platform.

Unless otherwise specified, the data in this report comes from an October 2016 CoreData survey of 552 financial advisors.
Secondary data is used in a couple of instances throughout the report to provide context to the primary survey findings. Data for the federal funds rate from 2006 to 2016 is sourced using the historical effective federal funds rate provided by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/FEDFUNDS).
Historical prices of the S&P 500 index (^GSPC), iShares Russell 1000 Growth (IWF) and iShares Russell 1000 Value (IWD) are taken from Yahoo! Finance.