2020 Investment Survey Finds Consultants Feel Decline

The COVID-19 pandemic has dealt a major blow to the economy, and although markets have shown signs of recovery over the past six weeks, a new survey shows that advisors are feeling downward about the next six months.

Key takeaways

  • The “Investment Trends 2020 Survey”, covering the period just before the COVID-19 pandemic and extending to a national emergency declaration in the US, shows that financial advisors are feeling downward in the economic outlook for the next six months.
  • Among the survey’s findings, 25% of consultants say they plan to increase their individual stock usage compared to 15% in 2019.
  • Despite market conditions, ESG funds are growing by 38% of consultants currently using it.

This year’s “Investment Trends Survey 2020”, an annual survey conducted by the Financial Planning Association (FPA) in partnership with Journal of Financial Planning and Janus Henderson, highlights key concerns of consultants amid volatility over the past few months.

The survey, conducted in March of this year, highlights the change in the economic outlook of advisors after President Trump declared a state of emergency on March 13, providing a perspective of consultants to monitor their perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic in real time. , 2020. While only 12% of consultants were on a downward trend in the period just before the pandemic, that number had rapidly slumped to 31% by 13 March.

Consultant Views and Portfolio Management

Among the main findings of the survey is that consultants are currently choosing stocks over cash and cash equivalents. In fact, 25% of advisors are planning to increase their individual stock usage this year, a 66% increase compared to 15% in 2019.

“It’s not surprising to see more consultants reassessing asset allocation strategies,” said Adam Hetts, Global Head of Portfolio Creation and Strategy at Janus Henderson Investors, highlighting some of the study’s key findings. “An unprecedented market environment seems to have transformed into an unprecedented amount of rebalancing and re-allocation. What is really different for me this year is the modest impact this sale has had on investors – portfolio losses once thought to be specific to the Global Financial Crisis are back Everything changes when the once-in-a-lifetime losses occur every ten years. ”

ESG Funds Continue to Grow

Despite market fluctuations over the past few months, one thing is clear: ESG funds are increasing and 38% of consultants use or recommend them to clients. This is a 46% increase compared to both 2018 and 2019. What’s more, the survey reported that 29% of consultants plan to increase the use of ESG funds in the next 12 months, and around 40% ask clients to invest in them. types of funds in the last six months.

Consultants’ perspectives on ESG show that sustainability may be one of the key factors to be considered in the coming months, and Janus Henderson argues that investment strategies that focus on sustainability tend to perform better in times of market downturn. If this is true, this could mean an even larger increase for ESG funds in the future.


The COVID-19 outbreak and market turmoil over the past few months have had a significant impact on both investors and advisors. As the markets start to settle, many advisors seem wary that the worst has passed. While the full effect remains to be seen, it is safe to say for now that consultants are cautious about their short-term outlook.