As part of a general trend in new fiscal conservatism, consumers are paying more attention to smaller community banks and engaging with independent advisors to obtain guidance. This trend has come about as consumers seek more control over their financial destiny and hesitate to work with banks or other financial companies that have been deemed ‘too big to fail.’  The most recent Charles Schwab’s Independent Advisor Outlook Study offers a portrait of consumer sentiment and upcoming investment advisor strategies.

In general, independent advisors are recommending that consumers save up to 9% of their income. This strategy will help them achieve their stated goals of:

  • Saving money 59%
  • Paying down debt 62%

In addition, consumers are seeking specific advice on the following topics:

  • Financial planning 56%
  • Tax planning/accounting services 38%
  • Education on investments/financial matters 38%

Independent advisors believe the following sectors will drive growth in the next 6 months:

  • Information technology 44%
  • Health care 42%
  • Energy 37%
  • Consumer staples 24%
  • Financials 23%

Look for more independent advisors to be marketing services such as financial education and investment opportunities in exchange traded funds (ETFs) that are heavily weighted in growth sectors such as information technology and health care.

[Source: Independent Advisor Outlook Study. Charles Schwab Corporation. 2 March 2010 Web. 9 March 2010.]