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2024 Financial Advisor Trends: What the Economy, Inflation, and AI Mean for Investors

Read Time: 5 Minutes

No one can read the markets in a crystal ball, which means 2024 will bring surprises for all investors. But periods of market volatility are a normal part of the investment journey, not a barrier to success. Even under market headwinds, financial advisors can help clients find ways to pursue their investing goals.

Financial advisors will have to navigate these major industry trends in the coming year. Here’s a look at practical strategies and opportunities for 2024.

If you’re a financial advisor, download the report here. If you’re an investor, please visit or consult your financial advisor.

Shaky Economic Growth Is an Opportunity for Advisors to Show Value

Economics often dominates headlines with speculation on interest rates, inflation, and GDP growth. This directly affects the markets. Asset prices change in response to economic change and in anticipation of it. Our economists expect further change with lingering questions about recession risks and inflation.

While everyone talks about “higher for longer” rates, our base case is for inflation to fall back to central bank targets. This is a potential positive, but by no means certain. While our outlook for the U.S. involves a soft landing with no recession, there’s a wide range of potential outcomes. Swing factors like geopolitics, natural disasters, and tech innovation could affect what we see.


There’s good news for financial advisors. Our research shows that client trust is driven by more than short-term portfolio performance. Communication, expertise, and personalization can shore up client relationships in any economic condition.

Action Steps for Financial Advisors

1. Start with the “why” of investing. How have clients’ goals shifted coming into 2024? Are they on the same timeline? When success is measured with progress toward goals instead of dollars, advisors can show the value of their advice.

2. Talk about investing in real terms, after inflation. This can help clients understand if they’re taking on the right amount of risk for their long-term goals.

3. Analyze asset classes not only on valuation, but on their behavior in a range of environments. How would portfolios perform if inflation is persistent? What would returns look like if interest rates stay high?

A Closer Look at Investment Ideas

If a recession does occur, our analysts want defensive assets on hand. In the outlook, researchers assess undervalued risk offsets to help create robust portfolios.

Download the full economic analysis.

The Interest Rate Reset Brings Opportunities If You Know Where to Look

Interest rates in the developed world have increased from practically zero to 4-5.5%. For the first time in decades, expected real yields have entered positive territory.

Bond yields have anticipated these rises and increased, too, with 4-5% yields generally available across the curve.


The interest rate reset doesn’t come without risks. It’s not just about chasing yields in different asset classes—investors need to think about credit risk and dividend stability. Recent bond volatility has also heightened uncertainty for investors, which could lead to knee-jerk reactions.

And higher interest rates could create a challenging environment for businesses, which could deflate stock prices.

Action Steps for Financial Advisors

1. Focus extra attention on retired clients. In the improved income landscape, retirees could produce cash flows from their assets without chasing yields. Reach out to baby boomer clients to discuss safe ways to increase spending.

2. Educate clients on their asset allocation. In volatile markets, clients often seek out outside opinions. Discuss the strategies available and explain why you recommended their current structure.

3. Regular outreach on timely topics can address what’s on clients’ minds. You can reach more clients at once with white-labeled research, quarterly webinars, or a newsletter.

A Closer Look

Higher rates can be intimidating, but they also open opportunities. Our analysts believe it’s all about turning adversity into an advantage. For a full view of income-producing asset classes, download the 2024 outlook.

Geopolitical Tension Challenges Risk-Averse Investors

Uncertainty is always present, with at-times terrifying headlines dominating our collective consciousness. Headline risks look plentiful in 2024, including war in the Middle East and Europe as well as elections in the United States, United Kingdom, and India.

Advisors need to help clients sift through the stock-market noise and think long-term.


Action Steps for Financial Advisors

1. Shift perspective. Go from the narrow “What just happened?” to the broader “How do market cycles evolve?” to help decision-makers choose wisely.

2. Lean into the noise, reframing risk as an opportunity. Will risks change future return expectations or only result in temporary volatility? Cheaper prices in the market can create potential buying opportunities.

3. Understand a client’s risk comfort range. With the Portfolio Risk Score, advisors can easily match clients’ risk profiles with investment recommendations.

A Closer Look

Fundamental asset class analysis and careful portfolio construction can help manage external shocks. The outlook walks through 2024 investment risks and offsets worth considering.

Artificial Intelligence Trends Toward Ultra-High Valuations

As an investment theme, AI has seen significant investor interest and large inflows. ChatGPT’s splashy debut showcased AI’s power to automate tasks and speed up processes. Companies like the semiconductor chip designer Nvidia have quickly become household names.

The innovation brings risk, but there will be winners.


Investors shouldn’t let hype dominate their decisions. When product development is in overdrive, it’s dangerous to chase the winners.

Action Steps for Financial Advisors

1. Focus on economic moats, or durable competitive advantages. Companies with economic moats could be less susceptible to disruption from AI than those without.

2. The next rung of adopters could include those who can strengthen their products using artificial intelligence without the valuation risk.

3. Investing heavily in AI-related companies can also tilt portfolios toward growth companies.

A Closer Look

Artificial intelligence is an exciting theme, and we expect a lot of market interest in 2024. The outlook breaks down opportunities for AI exposure.

The Best Investment Ideas as We Enter 2024

As we enter 2024, our analysts are cautiously optimistic about stocks and bonds, even with heightened risk. The comprehensive 2024 outlook delves into key issues on investors’ minds.

Download the free white paper for:

  • Look-through portfolio opportunities.
  • Ideas to offset fundamental risk.
  • Pockets of value in the equities market.

For general educational use only.
This commentary is for general educational and informational purposes only. The information, data, analyses, and opinions presented herein are designed to provide general information about investing, to inform investors about developments in the broader financial ecosystem, and/or to help investors interpret market and regulatory shifts. This material is not an offer of our investment advisory services or an offer to buy or sell a security.

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