Financial advisors worried about fallout of presidential election

Americans will go to the polls on Nov. 8 - and financial advisors are worried about the fallout of whoever gets the most votes.

As Election Day nears and the incoming president of the United States prepares to take the Oath of Office in January, many Americans are wondering what the future holds, both for public policy and the financial markets in reaction to whomever gets the nod on Nov. 8. And chief among these worrywarts are professionals who specialize in the advising industry, a new survey suggests.

"25 percent of advisors say the election is a top-of-mind issue for them."

In a recent poll conducted quarterly by EatonVance, 1 in 4 advisors point to the race for the White House as the issue that they think about the most. Indeed, almost all advisors anticipate that the outcome of the election will impact financial markets, with nearly 60 percent believing that the outcome will probably be more unfavorable than favorable.

Earlier this year, the Federal Reserve forecast key interest rates increasing at least once, perhaps as many twice. With 2016 almost done, the Fed hasn't budged, opting to keep them in the same position due to global market instability. However, nearly 40 percent of advisors who responded to the poll expect interest rates will rise before Dec. 31, the report noted. Meanwhile, 41 percent think the Fed will hold off, only to raise them some time in early 2017.

John Moninger, EatonVance managing director of retail sales, indicated that no one likes unpredictability, and financial advisors are no different, nor are their clients.

"Uncertainty is unsettling," Moninger stated plainly. "But advisors can help clients navigate through periods of market volatility by discussing long-term goals and reviewing the tactical plans in place to help meet or exceed those goals."

40 percent of advisors say clients have mentioned election
Politics has a way of coming up in conversations in a variety of contexts, be it religion, the economy, the workforce or foreign policy. Advisors say the topic has been broached in their interaction with clients, with 39 percent saying it's usually their clients who bring it up, the survey revealed. Thirty percent said it was them who mentioned it.

"3 in 4 Americans believe this election is more consequential than normal."

The public in general points to this particular election season as being among the more consequential in recent memory. Nearly 3 in 4 - 71 percent - said as much in a separate poll conducted by Gallup. This is particularly true among adherents to the Grand Old party, as 80 percent of Republicans said this one mattered more than those in years gone by. Meanwhile, 69 percent of Democrats believe this election carried more significance.

"Advisors and their clients are anticipating the results of the election and are cognizant of the policy implications on their clients," Moninger said. "Their opinions vary, but there is strong engagement across demographics."

Next president should simplify taxes
Whomever ends up taking residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, advisors point to three areas of emphasis that they hope the next commander in chief - along with Congress - prioritizes. For example, 56 percent of respondents cited simplifying the tax code, 38 percent hoped for increased investment in the country's infrastructure and 36 percent wanted entitlement reform to reduce the federal deficit, the Eaton Vance poll found.

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