From March 2009 to March 2014, stocks returned 26% a year, as measured by the Wilshire 5000. Based on tracking by the Hulbert Financial Digest, the 5 best advisors (out of 200) over the five years lost an average of 58% during the 2007-2009 downturn. Picking an investment advisor based on their bear market returns is also usually a bad idea; the top-ranked bear market stock pickers rarely make good calls when markets rise.
For example, only 4 of the 196 Hulbert-monitored-advisors had a positive return during the 2007-2009 bear market. Over the 5 years ending March 2013, these same advisors averaged returns of just 2% a year. Only 6 of the 200 advisors Hulbert tracked were able to outperform the Wilshire 5000 during both the last bull and bear market. Three of these 6 were newsletters published by the Motley Fool: Stock Advisor, Inside Value, and Rule Breakers. Annual cost of the 3 newsletters ranges from $85 to $300.