Columbus, Ohio (Aug. 2, 2002) -- Despite the Enron crisis, affluent investors continue to trust their accountants, according to the third annual Nationwide Financial High Income Survey.

The vast majority (85 percent) of high-income investors who work with an accountant say that the Enron situation hasn't changed their level of trust in that person. Affluent men were slightly more likely than affluent women to say that Enron affected their trust (14 percent vs. 7 percent), Nationwide reported. The survey polled 500 people under age 60 with annual household incomes greater than $150,000 per year who were either engaged in financial planning or intended to be in the near future.

More than 90 percent of those surveyed use an accountant in some capacity. Half reported turning to their accountant for financial planning help, while 9 percent said their accountant is their most frequently used advisor for financial planning advice. In contrast, 70 percent turn to professional investment advisors or financial planners for financial planning help, with 45 percent reporting them as their most frequent advisor for planning advice.

According to the survey, the top services affluent investors want from an advisor include development of a comprehensive financial plan; planning for income management in retirement; investment risk return and analysis; tax advice; and estate planning.

Affluent women are more likely than men (55 percent vs. 44 percent) to use an accountant for financial planning help, and small business owners are more likely than other occupations to do so (66 percent vs. 47 percent), according to the report. Two-thirds of respondents turn to their accountant for tax-related financial planning; 8 percent turn to accountants for retirement planning; and 7 percent for estate planning. Financial planners were preferred for retirement planning (63 percent) and 15 percent report seeking tax planning advice from their financial planner. Attorneys were seen as tax planning advisors for 10 percent of these investors.

-- Electronic Accountant Newswire staff

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