2012 U.S. Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study Results
As full-service investment firms strive to differentiate themselves from their competitors, it becomes more important to shop around and carefully consider which one should take care of your portfolio. That's one of the primary takeaways from the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study.
According to the study, now in its 10th year, overall customer satisfaction with these investment firms has stabilized. This is possibly due in part to the fact that while these firms have upped their game in terms of efficiencies, and services offered, investor expectations have increased as well.
The study finds that overall satisfaction has improved to 775 on a 1,000-point scale, little changed from a score of 772 in 2011. The overall score took a dramatic dip in the 2009 study, following the economic crash. Edward Jones ranks highest in investor satisfaction in the 2012 study, with a score of 803. Fidelity Investments ranks second with a score of 800, followed by Charles Schwab & Co., at 787.
The study measures satisfaction in seven factors: investment advisor; investment performance; account information; account offerings; commissions and fees; website; and problem resolution. Comparing 2012's numbers with those of pre-crash 2008, it appears that people are significantly less happy with commissions and fees charged, and the performance of their investments, and slightly less satisfied with their personal advisor. It may be that investors have higher expectations for their portfolios' performance because they have more investment information available and are thus better equipped to criticize investment decisions after the fact.
Based on the study's findings, J.D. Power and Associates offers the following tips to investors:
- Examine each investment firm's commission/fee structure, and their methods of account management.
- Besides visiting each company's website, use social media to find consumer comments about each firm. Take both praise and criticism with a grain of salt.
- Consider how well your needs and objectives blend with the methods and techniques of the firm.
- As you do your research, develop a list of questions that you'll ask an advisory firm before committing.
The 2012 U.S. Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 4,400 investors who make some or all of their investment decisions with an investment advisor. The study was fielded in February 2012.