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Advisers forecast Republican resurgence in November elections

Jul 9, 2014 @ 12:10 pm

By Alessandra Malito

FSI, fiduciary duty, mergers and acquisitions, succession planning, Generation X and Y
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Financial advisers expect Republicans to regain control of the Senate in this fall's midterm elections.

By a margin of 66% to 34%, advisers polled by the Financial Services Institute expect power to shift for the final two years of the Obama administration.

In addition, despite the widespread acknowledgement that the industry must cultivate younger advisers to take over when aging advisers retire, the FSI survey of its members found that most have no plans either to retire or sell their practice anytime soon.

Of the 2,300 independent financial advisers polled, 85% said they did not plan to retire or sell their practice in the next one to five years and 71% said they did not plan to retire or sell their practice in the next six to 10 years.

“Advisers are here for the long term, there won't be a mass exodus any time in the near future,” FSI spokesman Chris Paulitz said. “Although we do have to continue to find that next generation of financial advisers.”

The average age of an FSI member is 52 years old, Mr. Paulitz said, and while the poll results clearly show current financial advisers aren't going anywhere, the industry needs to continue to persuade the younger generation to become financial advisers by speaking with college students determining their majors, having financial literacy programs that reach more grade school and high school students, and finding those who not only understand finances, but like it.

“As the baby boomers get older and near retirement, and the younger generation isn't as big, we need to make sure we are purposely going out and finding them at a very young age,” Mr. Paulitz said. “We should not let these poll numbers make us complacent in that effort to find the next generation.”

If the supply of advisory practices is not likely to climb over the next several years, the demand is not expected to increase either, according to the poll.

Most financial advisers — 71% of respondents — said they do not plan on buying or acquiring another practice or book of business in the next one to five years and 76% don't plan on buying more business in the next six to 10 years.

According to the results, 90% of financial advisers were against the Department of Labor redefining the scope of the term “fiduciary” for financial advisers to retirement plans, a change first proposed in 2010. Critics of the proposal say changing the term could make it impossible for financial advisers to receive commissions on retirement advice, affecting the business viability of advisers who cannot take small investors on a fee-only basis. In 2010, 75% of the members responded against the ruling.

“The education of typical financial adviser is much higher than when the rule first came out,” Mr. Paulitz said. “They understand the detrimental impact it would have on small investors in the country.”

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