This latest research validated our 2017 findings and revealed new discoveries of importance to advisory firms. We added new questions related to the impact of regulatory pressures, if and what respondents outsourced, the impact of dependents on occupational stress levels and – importantly – we asked advisors to tell us what they loved most about their jobs.
Advisors responded to our survey during a time of high volatility. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index1 experienced losses in 10 of the 17 business days the survey was in the field. Volatility, as measured by the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX),2 was about double from when advisors responded in 2017. Despite these starkly different backdrops, many of the key findings from 2017 did not shift dramatically. More than 630 advisors took time out of their stressful days to provide input for this research.
1 Bloomberg, Standard & Poor's 500 (S&P500), 17Oct2018 through 09Nov2018. The S&P 500 is a market-capitalization-weighted index of the 500 largest U.S. publicly-traded companies and is generally representative of the U.S. stock market.
2 Bloomberg, CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) 01Jan2017 through 09Nov2018. The VIX is a real-time market index that represents the market's expectation of 30-day forward-looking volatility.
Advisors are (still) stressed. The advisors in our study reported an average stress level that was 23% higher than national norms.
Stress levels varied by gender and whether advisors were caring for dependents. There were also varying stress levels among firm types and the services offered.
Competing for clients, compliance and political uncertainty were most concerning. Respondents rated their feeling of stress related to 13 industry issues.
Competing for clients and compliance issues again ranked at the top of the list, closely followed by a new stressor, political uncertainty and then, market concerns.
Advisors gained peace of mind through a variety
of strategies. Advisors shared their tactics for coping with occupational stress.
Once again, on-the-job strategies, such as being good to clients and time management, resulted in less perceived stress than avoidance techniques such as exercise and spending time with family and friends.
This year we added new lines of questions to the survey, while keeping much of last year’s survey in tact so that we can begin to see trends over time. In 2018, we looked for insights on these new topics: