The share of mass-affluent households using full-service brokers as their private financial advisers has declined by eight percentage points, to 22%, this year, according to Spectrem Group research.

The Chicago consulting firm said Thursday that this was the first decline in this percentage since it began tracking the data in 2001.

At the same time, the share of mass-affluent households (defined as having net worth of $100,000 to $1 million) using independent financial planners as their primary advisers rose two percentage points, to 22%, from a year earlier. Planners and brokers now share the rank of top advisers to the mass affluent; brokers held the top spot alone since Spectrem began tracking the data.

Indeed, 41% of mass-affluent investors this year described themselves as conservative, nearly double the share who gave that answer a year earlier. Those who called themselves aggressive fell to 11% this year, from 29% a year earlier.

The report was based on online surveys of 1,498 households in July.

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