· Half (48%) of advisers expect investment returns will rise over the next year, a third (29%) anticipate falls
· Stock market volatility and Brexit now seen as the biggest threats to client wealth over next two years
· Leaving financial planning too late remains the biggest threat to future financial security
As the stock market approaches a return to the record highs of June this year, half (48%) of UK financial advisers anticipate a continued increase in their clients' investments over the next 12 months, a significantly higher proportion than the 29% that expect a fall in returns. However, while advisers are optimistic about the positive prospects this brings for client wealth, Aegon's Adviser Attitudes Report, pinpoints a number of macro-economic warning lights that are now flashing on the dashboard for the adviser community.
The report, which tracks the behaviour, attitudes and concerns of the UK financial adviser market, reveals that advisers now rank stock market volatility as the biggest threat to client wealth in the short term, with a third (36%) identifying it as the factor that will have the most significant impact over the next two years. The UK's exit from the EU also remains an acute issue, with more than a quarter (28%) of advisers concerned that Brexit risk will impact client wealth above all else.
Meanwhile, 13% see inflation as the biggest threat, and more than one in ten (12%) see pressure to support parents and/or children as the most pressing concern when it comes to financial planning.
Looking beyond short term challenges, when asked more broadly about the biggest threats to the UK populations' long-term financial security, advisers agreed that not starting to plan early enough remains by far the biggest risk – a view held by three quarters (74%) of respondents. These risks were followed by the consequences of an ageing society (65%), and relying on property prices to provide an income (39%).
Steven Cameron, Pensions Director at Aegon said:
"Strong growth in the stock market following the Brexit referendum has resulted in a buoyant period for financial returns, and it's encouraging that much of the financial advice community expects this to continue. However, with so much going on in the political and economic landscape, it's impossible to know for certain what's waiting round the corner.
"UK growth forecasts have been revised down, and clients are facing a range of new, and perhaps more present, threats to their wealth. With inflation rising above expectation and interest rates likely to follow suit, savers need support to make the right decisions. By providing tailored advice depending on the individual circumstances and life stage of their clients, advisers' services can provide huge value. With so many unknowns, people should take the necessary steps to strengthen their finances, and advisers have a critical role to play in helping them make informed decisions to manage their money successfully."