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SEI Quick Poll: Advisors More Optimistic About 2013 Than Clients

OAKS, PA--(Marketwire - Dec 13, 2012) - Despite the fact that a majority of their clients remain nervous about the coming year, advisors are overwhelmingly positive about 2013 with only 14 percent expecting it to be worse than 2012, according to an SEI ( NASDAQ : SEIC ) Quick Poll released today. Meanwhile, advisors said their clients remain unsure, as nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of those polled said they believe their clients are apprehensive about 2013. Less than one percent of respondents said they thought their clients were optimistic. The survey, completed by 275 financial advisors, points to a need for clearer communication between advisors and clients about the economic outlook. 

The difference of opinion between advisors and their clients is also reflected in the way advisors perceive the current economic situation. A large majority (84 percent) said that 2012 was a good year for their businesses, and three-quarters (75 percent) said they are better off than they were four years ago. When asked how advisors thought clients would compare their current situation to four years ago, more than half (55 percent) of those polled think their clients would say they are not better off.

"Whether it's real or perceived, advisors believe their clients have a different perception of the markets than the advisors do," said Kevin Crowe, Head of Product Development, SEI Advisor Network. "The new year is the perfect time to remind clients that 2012 is in the rear-view mirror and to work together to put an effective plan in place for 2013." 

Beyond general sentiment, advisors were also asked about top fears and challenges for themselves and their clients in the coming year. Advisors were asked to prioritize their clients' holiday wish lists. Nearly one-third (30 percent) identified avoidance of the fiscal cliff as their clients' top priority. This was followed by positive financial markets (24 percent), Congress working better together (15 percent), and a reduced federal deficit (13 percent). Advisors' personal feelings differed from their predictions for clients', as the fiscal cliff was only a secondary concern. Only one-in-ten (10 percent) said the fiscal cliff was their biggest worry. A third (33 percent) of advisors polled said the mounting federal deficit was their biggest concern for 2013. The same amount (33 percent) said economic uncertainty was their biggest concern, while 15 percent said it was tax increases.

"With all of the news lately about the fiscal cliff, it's not surprising that clients seem more concerned with this issue than anything else," said Val Fernelius of Vantage Wealth Management in San Mateo, CA. "That being said, most advisors are taking a longer view. While there is certainly concern in the industry about the fiscal cliff, there is also a realization that the growing federal deficit is a major issue that needs to be addressed to achieve long-term economic health."

Advisors are not confident in the ability of the government to reduce the deficit. Nearly half (49 percent) believe the federal deficit will be significantly higher in 2013 than the $1.1 trillion level of 2012. Only one-in-five (21 percent) believe that Congress will come up with a fiscal cliff solution by year end that will have a positive impact on the economy. More than half (54 percent) believe Congress will be gridlocked on the fiscal cliff, and 23 percent believe that Congress will come up with a solution that will have a negative impact on the economy.

About The SEI Advisor Network
The SEI Advisor Network provides financial advisors with turnkey wealth management services through outsourced investment strategies, administration and technology platforms, and practice management programs. It is through these services that SEI helps advisors save time, grow revenues, and differentiate themselves in the market. With a history of financial strength, stability, and transparency, the SEI Advisor Network has been serving the independent financial advisor market for more than 16 years, has over 4,900 advisors who work with SEI, and $32.5 billion in advisors' assets under management (as of Sept. 30, 2012). The SEI Advisor Network is a strategic business unit of SEI. For more information, visit www.seic.com/advisors.

About SEI
SEI ( NASDAQ : SEIC ) is a leading global provider of investment processing, fund processing, and investment management business outsourcing solutions that help corporations, financial institutions, financial advisors, and ultra-high-net-worth families create and manage wealth. As of September 30, 2012, through its subsidiaries and partnerships in which the company has a significant interest, SEI manages or administers $448 billion in mutual fund and pooled or separately managed assets, including $195 billion in assets under management and $253 billion in client assets under administration. For more information, visit www.seic.com.