Third IMS Wealth Management Monitor Reports Serious Economic Concerns Despite Bullishness Among U.S. Asset Managers, Affluent Investors

Survey with nearly 5,700 respondents also reveals increased interest in robo investing

CHICAGO, April 6, 2017 – Asset managers and affluent investors report serious concerns about the U.S. economic outlook despite confidence in President Donald Trump’s policy agenda, according to the third edition of the IMS Wealth Management Monitor (The IMS Monitor), released today by the Investing Media Solutions (IMS), one of the nation’s largest premium financial publisher groups.

“Our survey highlights a clear disconnect in sentiments,” said Josh Morris, Investing Media Solutions co-founder and CEO. “On the one hand, asset managers and individual investors are optimistic that the Trump administration’s proposed tax cuts and infrastructure spending and regulatory reforms would benefit the economy. However, respondents also note serious economic concerns related directly to the Trump administration’s cabinet and policies.”

Morris added, “This is a potentially dangerous revelation for the investment community, given the large size and market influence of our respondent base.”

The IMS Monitor, conducted from Jan. 13 - March 3, generated 5,685 completed responses, and respondents collectively report influencing hundreds of billions of dollars in assets.

Economic Concerns

  • Asset managers say their clients are most concerned about interest rates (62%), Trump administration policy and Cabinet choices (51%), weak GDP/economic growth in the U.S. (46%), terrorism and geopolitical turmoil (33%), and economic concerns in Europe (24%).
  • Somewhat differently, investors themselves report these greatest concerns: Trump administration policy and Cabinet choices (44%), terrorism and geopolitical turmoil (43%), interest rates (29%), economic concerns in Europe (26%), and weak GDP/economic growth in the U.S. (24%).
  • Levels of concern about most matters covered in previous IMS Monitor surveys have increased significantly. For example, since Q1 2016, fear regarding interest rates rose 786% for asset managers and 314% for investors, while worries about terrorism and geopolitical turmoil increased 57% for asset managers and 105% for investors.

Optimism About Trump Fiscal Stimulus

  • Asset managers overwhelmingly feel that implementation of Trump’s fiscal stimulus agenda would have a “positive overall impact on the economy over the next four years,” with 23% saying “Absolutely, yes” and 45% saying “More than likely.” Investors are less optimistic, with comparable answers of 20% and 41%, respectively.
  • Regarding regulatory policy, 30% of asset managers “strongly agree” that dismantling the Dodd-Frank and Consumer Protection acts will produce “economic growth and job creation” while 35% “somewhat agree.” Investors’ comparable responses are 18% and 31%.

Among other findings:

Robo Investing

  • Almost half (47%) of retail investors report awareness of the term “robo advisor” – up 16% from the Q1 2016 IMS Monitor survey.
  • Of those who are aware of the term, the percentage who say they will “consider adding a robo advisor account” rose from Q4 2016 (13%) to Q1 2017 (18%).
  • Of the asset managers who reported being aware of the term “robo advisor” (90%), almost 21% report that they “don’t know” if their clients are “using or considering adding a new robo advisor account to their portfolio.”
  • Almost half (47%) of retail investors would “likely consider first” an “online brokerage firm” for a “new robo advisor account.”

Confidence in Managing Investments

  • 76% of investors are at least somewhat confident in their ability to set and reach their own investing objectives.
  • Investors’ confidence in “managing their own investments and achieving their own objectives” is up significantly, with a year-over-year increase of 23% for those who report feeling “very confident” and a 37% jump for those who are “confident.”
  • More than half (56%) of investors report managing 75-100% of their investable assets themselves.

Reading Habits

  • Asset managers and investors most often turn to independent, niche websites (the top choice for 64% of each group) for “actionable insights and editorial perspective on the financial markets.”

To view a summary and request a copy of the third IMS Wealth Management Monitor, please visit

About the IMS Wealth Management Monitor:

The IMS Wealth Management Monitor is a proprietary survey of readers from across the Investing Media Solutions (IMS) Publisher Group, a select group of premium financial content publishers who serve more than 20 million influential, Financially-Fluent™ readers monthly. Due to the billions in assets controlled by these audiences, The IMS Monitor serves as a unique touchstone for financial services marketers on a range of topics including; the economy, media consumption, investing objectives & products, market and Trump policy sentiment.

IMS conducted the survey research that informed the IMS Wealth Management Monitor (3rd ed.) from Jan. 13 - March 3, 2017 via exclusive email and display advertising campaigns on IMS websites. The survey generated complete responses from 5,685 individuals, of whom 48% work in financial services and 52% are retail investors and corporate executives who do not work in the industry.

About Investing Media Solutions Publisher Group:

Investing Media Solutions (IMS) Publisher Group, a premium, exclusively-managed financial publisher group, reaches millions of influential, Financially-Fluent™ readers who are seeking out actionable editorial content. As a trusted media partner for major advertisers, IMS creates custom, integrated, digital advertising solutions that reach and engage these sophisticated, high-value audiences. For more information, please visit

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