Financial Advisors Identify Rising Interest Rates as a Top 2014 Client Conversation Topic

Janus Survey Also Finds Equity Highs and Income Generation to be Important Themes in 2014

Company Release - 2/11/2014 10:01 AM ET

DENVER, Feb. 11, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- More than nine-in-10 (93%) financial advisors say rising interest rates will be a critical client conversation in 2014, according to Advisor Viewpoints 2014.

The survey, sponsored by Janus Capital Group and conducted by Cogent Research*, also found that 84% of advisors will conduct conversations with their clients on the topic of equity market highs. The same number of advisors (84%) will also engage in discussions with clients around the topic of income generation in 2014.

However, these themes could prove to be challenging conversations for advisors, as more than two-thirds (69%) say they often find themselves acting as part psychologist and part financial advisor.

"Clients are not only seeking financial advise from their advisors, but also looking to engage with them on a more personal level," said Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, a wealth psychology expert. "By understanding how to approach the year's most pressing themes from a technical and conversation perspective, advisors have the opportunity to better address their clients' true financial concerns in 2014."

Kingsbury joined Enrique Chang, Janus CIO of equities and asset allocation, and Colleen Denzler, Janus senior vice president and global head of fixed income, for the Advisor Viewpoints: Critical Client Conversations for 2014 panel moderated by InvestmentNews Editor Frederick P. Gabriel Jr. on Feb. 4, 2014 in Denver. The expert panel took a deep dive into how advisors should approach these top three client conversations in 2014.

Concern for Rising Interest Rates

The survey found that advisors are more concerned than their clients about rising interest rates, by nearly a 2-to-1 margin, and only 7% of advisors say clients are actively seeking advice on the topic. With so few clients actively seeking advice, advisors have the responsibility to initiate conversations to help clients better understand the potential risks rising rates presents to their portfolio.

"While we believe opportunities exist for risk-adjusted fixed income returns, advisors need to initiate conversations about the potential impact of rising interest rates as many of their clients have never seen a significantly down or flat bond market," said Colleen Denzler, senior vice president and global head of fixed income strategy with Janus.

According to Denzler, advisors need to begin by making sure their clients truly understand the basic mechanics of bonds. It's critical to ensure clients have an understanding of how bonds work and how rising interest rates can impact a portfolio first before advisors can engage clients in productive, meaningful client conversations around how to navigate a rising rate environment.

Examining Equity Market Highs

Almost half (47%) of advisors say their clients are well-informed and are open to advice on how to invest more in the equity markets. However, the 2013 run up in equities has created the potential for some clients to have an imbalance when it comes to what is generally accepted as the starting point for a properly diversified portfolio.

"The need to rebalance to client portfolios coming out of 2013's equity market highs should be the starting point for advisors, because the most important thing an advisor can do for a client is to set a properly diversified portfolio based on risk tolerance," said Enrique Chang, CIO of equities and asset allocation.

The survey found that advisors anticipate that clients will agree to a slight increase in allocations to equities (53% of client assets under management (AUM)). However, advisors report that clients will agree to bond allocations of around 24%, which is significantly lower than the generally accepted equities to fixed income ratio for a properly diversified portfolio.

"There is a stress point when advisors need to have a disciplined asset allocation process in place, because that's when clients will be least likely to do the right thing," Chang said. "Together, advisors and clients should have the discipline in up markets and down markets to believe that they've done the right level of work to come up with the 60 vs. 40 or 65 vs. 35 allocation mix."

Education on Income Generation

Clients are proactively bringing up a number of income goals for 2014. Despite this, advisors do not believe their clients are connecting the broader economic issues to their personal portfolios – only 8% of advisors believe clients truly "understand" how income is generated in their portfolio.

Looking forward to 2014, advisors feel clients will be most receptive to recommendations of two investments known for their income-generation potential – dividend-paying stocks/stock funds (86% of advisors surveyed) and high-yield corporate bonds/bond funds (53% of advisors).

"It's important for advisors to keep in mind that yield is not free," said Denzler. "Conversations about high-yield strategies are really about exercising proper risk management and making sure the client truly understands an investment the advisor is recommending."

Download the Advisor Viewpoints 2014 Executive Summary for more in-depth information on the types of conversations advisors should use to navigate critical client conversations, or watch a replay of the Advisor Viewpoints panel discussion to learn more about 2014's more pressing conversation themes.

About the study

A national, online study of advisors was conducted from Dec. 12, 2013 through Jan. 8, 2014. A total of 302 advisors completed the study, representing a margin of error of + 5.7%. Janus was not identified as the study's sponsor. To be included in this survey, advisors had to: have their own book of business; work for one of the five distribution channels (wirehouse, regional, independent, bank, or RIA firm); work as a financial advisor, broker, consultant/planner, wealth manager or portfolio manager (only RIA firms); have at least $5 million in assets under management (AUM); have at least 50% of their AUM dedicated to individual (retail) clients; have at least 30% of their AUM in open-end mutual funds; and have more than one year of experience in the role.

* Cogent Research is a division of Market Strategies International (Market Strategies acquired Cogent Research in May 2013).

About Janus Capital Group Inc.

Janus Capital Group Inc. (JCG) is a global investment firm dedicated to delivering better outcomes for clients through differentiated investment solutions from three independent managers: Janus Capital Management LLC (Janus), INTECH Investment Management LLC (INTECH) and Perkins Investment Management LLC (Perkins). Each manager brings a distinct perspective, style-specific expertise and a disciplined approach to risk. JCG's multi-boutique approach provides clients with distinctive solutions across a broad range of asset classes including equities, fixed income, alternatives, asset allocation and income products.

At the end of December 2013, JCG managed approximately $173.9 billion in assets for shareholders, clients and institutions around the globe. Based in Denver, JCG also has offices in London, Milan, Munich, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Melbourne, Paris, The Hague, Zurich, Frankfurt, Dubai and Taipei.

Please consider the charges, risks, expenses and investment objectives carefully before investing. For a prospectus or, if available, a summary prospectus containing this and other information, please call Janus at 877.33JANUS (52687) or download the file from Read it carefully before you invest or send money.

Investing involves risk, including the possible loss of principal and fluctuation of value.

Bonds in a portfolio are typically intended to provide income and/or diversification. In general, the bond market is volatile. Bond prices rise when interest rates fall and vice versa. This effect is usually pronounced for longer-term securities. Any fixed income security sold or redeemed prior to maturity may be subject to a substantial gain or loss.

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