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The hope is alive, the skepticism remains


DUSSELDORF. Was it? The worst is over – crossed the valley of tears? At least in the economic expectations of financial service providers is made again by a slightly more optimistic attitude. Following a brutal crash of the image in the mood COURSE Trend Survey 2009, the seedlings of hope germinates, it might be enough with the crisis and the economic ice age is now followed by the gentle touch of an approaching thaw. However, on closer inspection reveals a very differentiated picture prediction. Still, one encounters the prophet with a realistic recovery skepticism, which is reflected in the still very cautious assessment of their own business prospects.

While insurance and investment providers to assess their situation, a touch more optimistic than a year ago, but real optimism is different. More importantly, they are the independent agents who have a positive effect on their businesses from the slight economic recovery not want to be derived. The situation remains fragile – and it also changes by the fact that a majority of intermediaries, insurers and fund providers favorable overall long-term effects of the new coalition in Berlin expected.

Renewed concerns about the weather change

The seedlings of hope in the pension industry is still very weak – and grab the fear of a renewed climatic change with the hands. This completes while the clear majority of 61 percent of the companies represented by the facilitator economic researchers believe a modest overall upward trend in 2010, – a veritable quantum leap compared to the crisis in 2009, when only 28 percent had this view. But even that for the financial markets once again brightened the mood can not alleviate the skepticism that holds itself stubbornly in the assessment of one’s own business prospects in the stock brokerage. On the contrary: the number of intermediary firms, which start in 2010 by a decline in business, compared to the forecast for 2009 even slightly risen again to 21.2 percent.

That the number of those who expect in 2010 a "rather good" (21.2%) or at least "satisfactory" (48.5%), business performance, slightly below the already weak prior-year earnings, reveals how deep uncertainty, the retailer sector the worst part of burglaries in the current distribution business for the foreseeable future still afflicts us. The booming business in the past year against single premiums in the Brokerage / Agency at any rate seems to have hardly contributed to a more positive mood.

Also in a long have been the mediators in the data collected since 2003 by COURSE-year forecasts shown with regard to their own business prospects have never been so skeptical, as it now comes before them for the lying-date 2010 financial expression.

According to Best Mood in 2003, it went downhill with the assessments

What were the still for a time when nearly 45 percent of the independent broker in its annual forecast for the business outlook for the coming year assessed as "very good" and proceeded to nearly 40 percent of "fairly good" expectations. Since this "top-Year 2003" went to the assessment of business prospects almost continuously downhill – much broken only by the euphoria of rapid year-end business, the brokers and insurers by eliminating the exemption for endowment policies in late 2004 once again brought an abundant harvest sales.

It would almost seem as if the widespread failure of the industry formerly known as "bread and butter business," the mediator current endowment policies still do not replace it with convincing and widely accepted by the public pension alternatives?

Association expects 2010 decline in business

In this moderate mood also is fitting that in 2010, although the majority of the silver lining is seen on the economic outlook, the aftershocks are likely the deep financial crisis in the pensions market broker perspective 2010 still clearly shake. Thus 70 per cent of brokers expect that the business of insurance within the next twelve months will be burdened significantly negative.

Given the fact that expected by the General Association of German Insurance Association (GDV) for 2010, a decline in business for the insurer, which appears quite skeptical of the agency are based on realistic ground. Similarly, a majority, 55 percent comes from the fact that the investment community from the negative influences of the financial market crash, despite the significant upswing in the last year and in 2010, can not quite shake off. Accordingly, almost three quarters of the independent brokerage firms expect that their brokerage business would be detrimental to this year, slightly (36%) or even strong (38%). A moderate recovery in the agent business, 21 percent go to a radical improvement believe 3 percent.

Bad mood in the insurance industry

In the insurance industry, a majority (54%) of respondents believes that the financial crisis in the life business in 2010 should continue to adversely affect nearly 45 percent fear such a burden even for the entire insurance distribution.

The fact that the GDV for the insurance industry this year, a decrease in premium income of 0.5 percent and in life – the 2009 is still strongly benefited from a boom in single premiums – even from 3.0 percent predicted that fits into the very unobtrusive Forecast COURSE picture of this trend survey.

And yet makes itself when assessing the Company’s own perspectives on life insurers in the previous year to ease slightly noticeable. The percentage of companies that grew expect a "very positive" or at least "positive" business development, year on year by 5 points.

Less pessimistic, but many Cautious

A radical change in mood can be derived from this comparison, however, discerned in the historical trend is still very weak value unlikely. Noticeable has improved in the insurance industry, however, the economic mood. To go back from 30 percent of the insurer for the current year, at least from a slight economic growth, in the survey for 2009 this figure had been as high as 5 percent crushing.

The share of pessimists who expect a "fairly bad" economic development, has reduced significantly from 24 percent in 2009 to currently 5 percent. However, a majority of two thirds is more cautious in the insurance industry with a view of the global economic outlook and no longer predicts as a "mixed picture" Development (2009: 71%).

Fund stock split

Still, the fund companies are more cautious in their assessment of the macroeconomic development in 2010 – although the tight uptrend in the stock markets gave the providers Open Fund from the second quarter of 2009, ample gains. However, only 23 percent of the investment houses in 2010, a mild cyclical upward trend expected, while 77 percent go to a "streaky" development. All the same, compared with the forecast for 2009 is a significant improvement in mood, for at that time 55 percent of the company had predicted a recessive development of the German economy. Despite this improvement in mood is the forecast value of the fund provider gesamtkonjunkturelle but still far below that in the past five years, identified by COURSE average.

In the evaluation of their own business prospects of the fund’s stock splits evident in the group of providers open fund for the 2009 went quite well, and closed in the initiators of funds, which suffered especially from the crisis in real markets. Thus, the share of companies expecting for the current fiscal year is a positive development, a year earlier to more than double to 48 (2009: 21) per cent. At the same time, 10 percent, but also much more fund companies on their own perspectives negative mood, as this is still the year 2008/2009 have been with 2 percent of the case.

That the financial crisis, at least psychologically, but still nachwirkt shows the long-term comparison: How is the fee for 2010 "hope value" for their own market opportunities, the second-worst measured prediction of fund providers in the past six years.

Volatility remains

All the same, 58 percent of the fund providers will see the worst impact of the economic crisis have been overcome. However, fears, more than half (52%) said that turmoil in financial markets will be felt in 2010. 44 percent of businesses go in 2010, of "low growth" (38%) or "strong growth" equity markets, 56 percent are of the view that financial markets are likely to remain volatile.

On this issue reveals the agency more optimistic. 65 percent say "low-growing" (56%) or even "strong growth" (9%) equity markets ahead. Show restraint in this matter, the assurance, share of which only 26 percent strongly or weakly to a growing market environment. Moreover, 57 percent go from a well in 2010 noticeable burden of the consequences of financial crisis.

Brokers expect only weak demand for fund products

Despite the broadly more confident market sentiment is a clear majority of 67 percent of the brokerage firm from a continued weak demand for fund products. Especially the segment of the closed fund, the agents are skeptical.

That the framework for the distribution of equity models in 2010 will be bad, expects an overwhelming majority of nearly 81 percent. Also expected for investment despite the stock market rising air just 45 percent of the mediators increased sales opportunities, while sales expectations are based primarily on other pension products (71%), occupational schemes (62%) and PKV additional products (61%).

Independent strengthen

This is what the fund industry from a different nature: 70 percent of the investment providers expect that demand will increase by fund products in 2010. Although we expect 44 percent of the investment houses and the fact that the loss of trust charge their chances in the competition for investors’ money, 38 percent of this loss of confidence, however, see it mainly affects the banking sector. Nevertheless, there are 84 percent of the fund houses in the current year determined to expand its product distribution through the banking houses, 58 percent also want the paragraph on the retail channel, "independent intermediaries to strengthen."

Preventive agent to see lasting change in investor psychology

Agreement among all stakeholders in the pension market is that the financial crisis influence on the precautionary behavior of citizens engaged and will continue to exercise. 50 percent of the agency sees a sustained change in investor psychology, but so are 48 percent believe this change is only minor in nature. 72 percent of financial advisors want to consider this change in awareness of their clients in mediation talks, for 23 percent of this circumstance will even play a major role. The majority of life insurers (57%) will take into account the growing customer requirements for greater security in the long term investment through appropriate product design.

That could be impacted by the loss of confidence in the long term pension business, my only 31 percent of the insurance industry. On the contrary, could be 25 percent of them think that the crisis has increased awareness of the need for individual preparedness when people have even sharpened yet.

Life insurers rely on more co-operation with independent agents

The expected difficult market environment, the quality of advice at a crucial competitive advantage. It also provides for a large part of life insurers and is thus in its sales efforts to strengthen the cooperation with independent brokers.

For 43 percent of the insurance industry in 2010, this cooperation will play an even higher priority than earlier, 50 percent of its existing partnerships will remain unchanged at current levels continue. 58 percent of insurers seeking to expand their general Unerstützungsangebote for free distribution, 26 percent want to push this process through specific measures even further.

Welch has growing importance of the quality of advice "on the spot," explains a look at the properties, especially appreciate the insurer to "their" advisors. The clear leader in the preference list is the criterion "qualifications and training", followed by "reliability" in the cooperation.

Conversely, independent agents prefer to partner with a product achieve above capital strength. However, this point has clearly lost its relevance. For, while still regarded in 2009, at the height of the financial crisis, 85 percent of the broker dealer’s capital strength of the product as a particularly important criterion, it is only "63 percent this year."

On the other hand, reflect the importance of gaining sales support by the insurers. For 57 percent of free agents this is a very important criterion in choosing a product partner, closely followed by the expression product, which came to 55 percent of mentions.

Strained normality

Also a small hint that the precautionary markets after the panic attack of 2009 pieces – seems eager – to return to normalcy. Approaches but the appreciation of entrepreneurial capital strength after the exorbitant rash in the crisis year again the long-term average. And that expression of product and sales support, again mainly grow significantly in value, suggests that sustained challenges of a start marked by high quality provision market increasingly supersede the current crisis. 2010 – a year on the road back to normality? The hope is there – is the skepticism.