Bank adviser productivity hit its lowest level of the year in November, but things may be looking up.

Bank adviser productivity dropped 16%, to $14,712, in November from October's $17,437.

Platform rep productivity fell 13%, from $821 to $716, over the same period last year.

"That's just ugly," said Heywood Sloane, a managing director at the Bank Insurance and Securities Association, which produces the monthly benchmarking report from which these numbers are culled.

Several timing factors made the numbers worse than they might have been. First, fees on managed accounts are paid after each quarter, and as a result bolstered the numbers for October. Second, November is a holiday month — the nation practically shuts down for a week surrounding Thanksgiving, meaning advisers have less time in the month to sell.

That's true for December as well, and Sloane expects similarly meager results for the month when they are released in mid-February. "They're a reflection of the impact of the holiday stretch," he said.

But Sloane said the BISA's monthly informal polls indicate that advisers are becoming more optimistic. Three-fourths of advisers expected to do the same or better in December than they did in November. And advisers expect client demand to shift toward equities and away from bonds in 2010.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.