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FAs Weigh In: Fielding Questions About Politics, the New Administration

By Rita Raagas De Ramos April 7, 2021

FA-IQ reached out to advisors to ask: What are the top financial advice questions you are getting from your clients?

Kristopher Carroll, a financial advisor at Carroll Financial. Charlotte, N.C.-based Carroll has been in the industry for nearly 25 years and has $822 million in client assets.

I am getting a ton of questions about politics. There’s a lot of people out there who are uncertain and uncomfortable about the political direction. I think there are a lot of people on the right who are afraid of what Democratic leadership is going to mean politically and how it will potentially affect their finances. What I am trying to do is moderate the conversations I’m having and help people understand that even if the election didn’t turn out the way they had hoped, it doesn’t mean it’s going to be disastrous for them. I am not a very political person and I don’t have strong political opinions about all of this, but it’s the most frequent question I am getting asked right now.

Kristopher Carroll
I am also getting questions about the market being at all-time highs and if it can really go higher from here … On one hand, they [retail customers] can be speaking with a greed mindset and on the other hand also be very concerned about a giant correction in the margin of all-time highs. An advisor’s job is normally to be the voice of reason and while the markets are not cheap, 2020 did a great job of proving that you can’t predict what they are going to do next. Just because the market is at all-time highs doesn’t mean it can’t go higher. It does mean that the risk is higher because, by definition, as prices get higher the risk goes up. But that’s looking at the world in a vacuum and we don’t live in a vacuum. Again, I try to preach moderation and I think that’s the most important thing.”

Phil Fiore, Jr., CEO and executive managing director at Procyon Partners. Shelton, Conn.-based Fiore has been in the industry for 27 years and has $3.7 billion in client assets.

“Not surprisingly, with a new administration in Washington D.C., clients are asking what effect the new policy direction will have on taxes and the markets across the globe. In addition, clients are wondering what changes, if any, are permanent given the Covid pandemic and in turn how would that affect them and their portfolios.

Phil Fiore
Our response as it always has been is that we need to control those items that we can control. Things around us will always change. We need to be flexible enough in our approach to our planning to adjust accordingly.

We have always told our clients that the planning process never stops and is very dynamic. Our job is to make sure we are filtering the most current information we have and using that to generate our thesis on what impact that information may have on our client’s portfolios and then act accordingly.

Another result of the various changes that may be coming is the need for active management in our client’s portfolio. We do not believe the current environment leads itself to a ‘set it and forget it’ money management philosophy. Rather, we believe synthesizing the information we are given and taking proactive action for our clients to put them in the best position possible to weather the results or outcomes of those things that we have no control over is the right methodology.”

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