2021 Trends in Investing Survey also reveals that tax reform is of particular interest to clients

DENVER (June 1, 2021) – While advisers remain cautious about digital assets, or cryptocurrencies, it seems that they may be ready to embrace them due to client demand, according to the 2021 Trends in Investing Survey, conducted by the Journal of Financial Planning and the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), and supported by Onramp Invest.

Cryptocurrencies were first added to the survey in 2018 when only 1.4 percent of advisers indicated they were currently using or recommending them with clients. That percentage dropped to below one percent in 2019 and 2020 but has increased to 14 percent of advisers currently using or recommending cryptocurrencies in 2021.

But, according to the survey, it seems adviser use/recommendation in digital assets may be trending upward for the foreseeable future. According to the survey, more than a quarter (26%) of advisers indicated that they plan to increase their use/recommendation of cryptocurrencies over the next 12 months. And 49 percent of advisers indicated that clients had asked them about investing in cryptocurrencies in the last six months, up from 17 percent in 2020. 

“It is clear from these results that we’ve reached an inflection point in the wealth management space. Advisers are now faced with a client base that demands knowledge, access, and advice from their adviser on cryptoassets,” says Tyrone Ross, CEO of Onramp Invest.

And speaking of what’s trending, this year’s survey also asked advisers about their and their clients’ participation in the GameStop rally that dominated the news cycle in the early part of the year. Not surprisingly, most advisers indicated they didn’t buy shares of GameStop, and neither did their clients. However, 34 percent said their clients did buy shares of GameStop, and 20 percent themselves bought shares.

Digital assets were not the only focus of this year’s research. Each year, the survey looks at where financial advisers are investing today and where they plan to increase or decrease investments over the next 12-months. Exchange-Traded Funds (ETFs) continue to wear the crown as the preferred investment vehicle by financial advisers, with 64 percent currently using or recommending them. However, adviser use/recommendation of ETFs is down 21 percent from the 2020 survey, but 36 percent say they will increase their use of ETFs over the next 12 months.

Each year, the survey explores which investment vehicle advisers will also decrease their use/recommendation. As is the case every year, most advisers do not plan to decrease their use/recommendation of any investment (28%). However, advisers are planning to decrease their use of individual bonds (21%), non-wrap mutual funds (20%), mutual fund wrap programs (9%), and fixed annuities (9%)—all increases from the 2020 survey.

“With most of the public poorly informed about what digital assets are, I find it comforting that more financial advisers are involved in conversations about the topic and the role such assets should or should not have in clients’ portfolios,” says Dan Moisand, CFP®, practitioner editor of the Journal of Financial Planning.

The 2021 survey, which received 529 responses by financial advisers of various backgrounds and business models, also indicated that clients were asking less about the effects of general volatility (52%) and Covid-19 (62%) in their portfolios than they were in the previous year. Other key findings from the 2021 Trends in Investing Survey include:

  • Just as clients have raised questions about cryptocurrencies over the past six months (49%), 49 percent of clients have been asking about the effects of tax reform on their portfolios.
  • While a majority of financial advisers continue to favor a blend of active and passive investment management (58%), it appears a purely passive approach continues its downward trend, with only 18 percent of advisers preferring a passive approach compared to 24 percent in 2020 and 29 percent in 2019.
  • Seventy-four percent of advisers reevaluated asset allocations over the previous three months due to anticipated changes in the economy (56%) and market volatility (44%), but 39 percent indicate they continually reevaluate their allocation strategy.

“Addressing tax concerns represents an opportunity for financial planners to be of great value to clients. Taxes are easily one of the largest expenses clients will pay in their lifetimes,” added Moisand.

Of those surveyed, 54 percent are Certified Financial Planner™ professionals, 40 percent indicated that they work as an independent IAR/RIA, and 26 percent say they have more than 21 years of financial services experience. A full report of the 2021 Trends in Investing Survey is now available and includes additional details and narratives.


About the Financial Planning Association

The Financial Planning Association® (FPA®) is the principal membership organization for CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM professionals, educators, financial services professionals, and students who are committed to elevating the profession that transforms lives through the power of financial planning. With a focus on the practice, business, and profession of financial planning, FPA advances financial planning practitioners through every phase of their careers, from novice to master to leader of the profession. Learn more about FPA at www.financialplanningassociation.org and follow on Twitter at twitter.com/fpassociation

About the Journal of Financial Planning

First published in 1979, the mission of the Journal of Financial Planning is to expand the body of knowledge in the financial planning profession. With monthly feature articles, interviews, columns, and peer-reviewed technical contributions, the Journal's content is dynamic, innovative, thought-provoking, and directly beneficial to financial planners in their work. Learn more at www.fpajournal.org.

About Onramp Invest

Onramp Invest is an iPaaS (integration as a platform) technology company providing access to cryptoassets for registered investment advisors. Their comprehensive cryptoasset management solution will enable advisers to help their clients safely, confidently, and intelligently invest in the new age all within their existing workflows and billing models. Invest with purpose. Learn more www.onrampinvest.com.


Ben Lewis

Chief Communications Officer

Financial Planning Association


P: 303.867.7190