Bottom Line

Is this the new normal? The past several weeks have seen a consistent set of data trends. When comparing this period to the previous 18 months, we see, overall transaction activity leveled off at roughly twice the historical levels, adjustments to clients investment objectives at roughly 45% higher, client activity back to normal, and net flows in and out of more risky and less risky investment vehicles is near zero, or flat.


Advisors left cash at 6.3% last week, still roughly two times the average, but roughly flat since early April. Advisors are slightly bearish on less risky assets, with modest net redemptions, while neutral on more risky assets as seen in zero net flows. There were no significant changes in client activity last week. Clients continue to take slightly more out of their accounts than they are putting in. We saw strong buying of fixed income mutual fund and ETF styles last week. Coupled with modest net redemptions when including individual securities, suggest possible tax loss harvesting in fixed income portfolios, OR advisors favoring commingled fixed income vehicles over individual securities. In equities, we continue to see a strong bias towards growth over value styles.

Key Insights

  • Transaction volumes remained steady at nearly double the 18 month trend.
  • Advisors were slightly bearish on less risky assets last week, with net redemptions in less risky assets and net flat in more risky assets. We define this as slightly “risk on” positioning.
  • Fixed income fund and ETF styles saw strong net inflows last week, including Intermediate, Short Term, Long Term and High Yield Bond styles. Large Cap Growth and Foreign Large Cap Growth are attracting inflows, while most value styles are seeing significant outflows.
  • We look at the number of client risk tolerance changes as a proxy for how advisor and clients are engaging around risk conversations. The number of changes this week was down 5% compared to previous week but still 43% higher than the normal number of changes. Advisors are actively modifying client’s expectations around risk and return, although the rate of changes is slowly returning to a normal rate.
  • Cash in advised portfolios is running at about 6.3% up from 6.1%. We believe this was due to a slight net outflow in fixed income securities.
  • Client contributions and withdrawals in their investment accounts is running slightly higher over the past 3 weeks when compared to the past 18 months. The net withdrawal from investment accounts increased slightly last week.
  • Last week, the number of new clients added and clients lost was in line with the past 18 months. We believe this data supports the theory that clients are finding comfort in advisors calm advice in this crisis.

Data Description

Our goal with this weekly compendium of industry metrics and indices is to inform the report’s consumer about the investment, risk and business activities executed by RIAs across the nation. We believe this information will provide advisors with near real time insights that may help them improve their business and client outcomes.

The data included in the RIA Pulse metrics comes from our wealth management solutions databases, which include Envestnet and Tamarac data. We filter the data those firms and advisors who we have segmented as Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs). The data is de-identified and aggregated to create a representative set of metrics and indices.

We curate the data to eliminate data which we deem to be incomplete, having insufficient history, or have minimal contribution to the metrics. We reevaluate the components and qualifiers of the metrics and indices on at least an annual basis in an effort to keep our RIA index representative of advisors’ inferred attitudes and actual behaviors. Risk On includes all individual equities (stocks).

We define risky assets as equity focused mutual fund and ETF styles. This includes, but is not limited to US Large Cap, Mid Cap, Small Cap, International, Emerging Markets Equities, Emerging Market Bonds, and High Yield Bonds.

We define non-risky assets as all individual fixed income instruments. Risk Off also includes fixed income focused mutual fund and ETF styles. This includes Taxable, Muni, Bank Loan, and International Fixed Income.

We define risk neutral assets as Cash/Money Markets, Balanced/Asset Allocated, and Alternative styles.


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Index performance is presented for illustrative purposes only and does not represent the performance of any specific investment product or portfolio. Fees and expenses are not included in the performance of an index. Fees and expenses will reduce performance. An investment cannot be made directly into an index. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. News feeds, data feeds, market quotes, and other links on this Envestnet Enterprise Portal are provided by independent third parties and are not guaranteed to be accurate, complete, or timely (including any information or data sources provided by Advisor or provided by third parties at the direction of Advisor). The news, market quotes, and links provided are shown for your convenience only. Linked web-sites are independent and are not owned or operated by Envestnet Financial Technologies. Envestnet Financial Technologies does not endorse any linked web-sites, nor does Envestnet Financial Technologies guarantee the timeliness, accuracy, completeness or adequacy of any information posted on the linked web-sites. Envestnet Financial Technologies does not necessarily agree with any opinion, outlook, or forecast stated on any linked web-site. Envestnet
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