In 2018, the pursuit of clients moved to the number one spot (27%) and regulatory and compliance concerns moved to second (19%) from the top spot previously. When asked to indicate the single greatest source of work stress, these two issues accounted for nearly half of all responses.
On standardized stress measures, there were no significant differences between advisor stress levels at RIA and wirehouse firms. However, an open-ended question revealed that wirehouse advisors were more likely to describe regulatory changes in terms of bad legislation, business risks and as interfering with client perceptions while RIAs described the changes as not stressful.
New this year, we included political uncertainty as a selection of industry-specific stressors, and it took the number three spot in our hierarchy of stressors. Women perceived political uncertainty as 34.1% more stressful than their male counterparts.
Market concerns rounded out the top four stressors in 2018, moving up from the number six slot in 2017. As mentioned previously, our survey was fielded in the second half of October and early November when volatility was high and markets were falling. One might have expected more of a jump with that backdrop.
We also added pressure on fees and margins to our selection of industry-specific stressors in 2018. Despite the regular headlines on fee compression, it ranked eighth on the hierarchy of stressors, below political uncertainty for most firm types.