Improving Affluent Customer Satisfaction to Increase Loyalty

Data from the 2013 U.S. Retail Banking Satisfaction Study finds that satisfaction and loyalty metrics among Affluent customers are lagging those of Non-Affluent customers. In turn, financial institutions are jeopardizing their ability to deepen the share-of-wallet they hold with their most valuable segment of customers.

Contrary to findings within the retail banking segment, data from the 2013 Full Service Investor Study finds that Affluent investors are significantly more satisfied than Non-Affluent Investors (818 vs. 785, respectively), leading to lower levels of intended attrition.  Therefore, financial institutions have an opportunity to identify the drivers of Affluent customer satisfaction from the wealth management experience and translate them into the retail banking experience.

For example, Affluent customers are considerably more satisfied with the Fees and Product Offerings associated with their investment relationship, as opposed to the Fees and Product Offerings associated with their retail banking relationship. Successful communication, often driven by the presence of an account manager, helps raise pricing-related satisfaction within the wealth management industry. Additionally, financial institutions may want to consider revisions to their lineup of retail banking products/services to better align with the specific needs of Affluent customers, which tend to be more complex.

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Beyond Portfolio Management – What do Investors Really Want?

When the market is doing well, satisfaction among full service investors is high.

This is evident by examining the correlation between satisfaction in the Investment Performance factor during the past 7 years and trends in the S&P 500 index during the same period. At a minimum, investors expect their financial advisor to provide the most effective guidance with respect to the performance of their portfolio.

Index and Investment Performance

Analysis at the investor level shows that among the majority of investors, Investment Performance satisfaction aligns with the relative returns reported for their portfolio. In other words, approximately 60% of investors combined fall into the high portfolio performance/high Investment Performance satisfaction quadrant or low portfolio performance/low Investment Performance satisfaction quadrant, as shown in the following figure.

Portfolio Performance

However, investment performance alone isn’t the driver of performance satisfaction among some investors. A significant proportion of investors do not follow the script and fall into the high portfolio performance/low Investment Performance and low portfolio performance/high Investment Performance quadrants (approximately 40% combined). The large number of investors in these quadrants raises the question, what can firms and advisors do to enhance investors’ perceptions of their portfolio performance?


For more information about our J.D. Power & Associates 2013 Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study, please contact: Holly Zagresky at: (248) 680-6319 or email her at

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Top 10 Sources for Gathering Investment Information

Unlike the majority of full service investors, self-directed investors MUST seek out information to aid in their decision-making regarding investments.

Did you know that satisfaction is highest among self-directed investors who use investment magazines and their firm as primary sources of this information?

The majority of self-directed investors (68%) indicate using their firm as one source of information, which is 4 percentage points lower than in 2011 (68% vs. 72%, respectively), and 30% of investors indicate that their firm is their main source of information, which is virtually the same as in 2011.  Below are the top 10 main sources of information that self-directed investors indicate using to aid in their investment decision-maiking:

Not depicted above, but included in our J.D.Power 2012 US Self-Directed Investor Satsfaction Study,  Sharebuilder from ING Direct leads the industry in the proportion of investors indicating that they use their firm as the primary source of information (36%), followed closely by E*TRADE Financial (35%) and Fidelity Investments (33%).

 Data Source:  J.D. Power and Associates 2012 US Self-Directed InvestorSatisfaction Study SM
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Fees Contribute To Dissatisfaction Among Self-Directed Investors

Our 2012 U.S. Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction StudySM, released yesterday, finds that although self-directed investors’ overall satisfaction with their investment firm has improved from 2011, satisfaction with trading charges and fees has decreased for a second consecutive year.

We’d like to share with you a short video that highlights some of the results from the study.

2012 Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Highlights

Non-trading fees continue to be the primary contributor to dissatisfaction.

  • Satisfaction averages 723 (on a 1,000-point scale) when investors do not pay a non-trading charge, compared with 613 when they are aware of maintenance fees and 628 when they are aware of inactivity fees.
  • Overall, satisfaction with trading charges and fees is 697, down from 703 in 2011.

Overall satisfaction with investment firms has increased to 768 in 2012, compared with 764 in 2011.

  • The increase is due to increases in satisfaction with interaction, information resources and account offerings.

Using tools and resources to aid in investment decisions is closely associated with higher levels of satisfaction and more frequent trading activity.

  • Among moderately active traders (one to 35 trades per year) who use real-time quotes/alerts, overall satisfaction averages 826 and the number of trades per year averages 9.6.
  • Satisfaction among moderately active traders who are not aware of the tool averages 749, and the number of trades per year averages 5.3.

Investors and potential investors are particularly interested in the availability of mobile platforms and apps that allow them to access account information or makes trades on the go.

2012 Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Rankings

  • Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. ranks highest in self-directed investor satisfaction with a score of 801 and performs particularly well in account information, account offerings and information resources.
  • Vanguard follows in the rankings with a score of 799, followed closely by Scottrade at 798.

Visit our website for a complete list of self-directed investor satisfaction rankings.



Please contact Holly Zagresky at or (248) 680-6319

The study, now in its 11th year, measures customer satisfaction with investment firms based on performance in six factors: account information; account offerings; information resources; interaction; problem resolution; and trading charges and fees.  Study is based on responses from 3,733 investors who make all of their investment decisions without the counsel of an investment advisor. The study was fielded in February 2012.
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What Does it Take to Keep Self-Directed Investors Satisfied?


Expectations and requirements of self-directed investors have evolved significantly during the past 10 years. While inexpensive trade commissions and a reliable platform were critical in the past, they are now perceived as a cost-of-entry.

Now more than ever, self-directed investors want information and tools to assist them in their decision-making. High-performing firms that continue to deliver on key operational fundamentals, as well as state-of-the-art information resources, achieve higher rates of investor acquisition and retention and lower rates of attrition than their competitors.

So, how do they do it?


In two weeks, we’ll release our 2012 Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Study which examines investor satisfaction among self-directed investment firms. The study provides insights into the needs, expectations, and desires of today’s self-directed investors and identifies best practices for improving overall satisfaction and loyalty, retention, and advocacy. Additionally, the study helps investment firms understand the dynamics—such as portfolio size and trading activity—that drive satisfaction among different types of investors.

Not already study subscriber?


A study subscription will provide access to the tools needed to gain a comprehensive, in-depth understanding of how your firm is performing and to identify the areas needing improvement. Study deliverables include:

  • A management discussion that provides insights into key industry trends and study findings, allowing your firm to maximize performance throughout the entire self-directed investing experience
  • An in-depth written executive summary of the findings on self-directed investor satisfaction and commitment
  • Access to a personalized competitive data set, allowing you to see how your firm stacks up against competitors, the industry, and the highest performers
  • An executive presentation that provides a summary of your firm’s results against those of key competitors and provides advisement on areas needing improvement

Want a sneak peak at the data?


Join us for a complementary webcast on Wednesday, June 20th at 2-3PM ET during which we will explore the following:

  • How investors’ perceptions have changed since 2011
  • The latest trends emerging in the wealth management industry
  • Which factors are having the biggest impact on investor satisfaction

For more information about this study, webcast or any of our other products and services, please contact: Holly Zagresky at: (248) 680-6319 or email her at

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Craig Martin Joins the J.D. Power Financial Services Team

We are pleased to announce that Craig Martin has joined J.D. Power and Associates as a Director in the Financial Services Practice.

In this role, Craig will focus on developing and delivering high-quality insights, recommendations, and presentations for the investment services and mortgage practice.

Craig brings a wealth of knowledge regarding customer experience. Most recently, he worked as a Product Manager/Vice President at BBVA Compass, where he lead initiatives and projects in support of efforts to increase sales, reduce errors, and improve the customer experience, including development of product packages and a new online account recommendation tool.

Prior to joining BBVA Compass, Craig worked at Regions Financial as an Incentive System and Process Development Manager/Vice President.

He holds an MBA from the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business and a BA in Economics from Vanderbilt University.

If you are interested in scheduling a meeting with Craig, he can be reached directly at


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Key Social Media Trends Affecting the Wealth Management Industry

In 2011, 65% of adults used social networking sites, a dramatic increase from 29% just 5 years earlier. Additionally, 50% of adults actively used social media last year.*  Growth is expected to increase in 2012, as Twitter adds 500,000 users per day on a worldwide basis.* Online discussions related to full service investors is heavily focused on advisors/brokers.  Consumers discussing full service investor experiences online often reference “financial advisors,” “investments,” and “wealth management,” as illustrated in the following word cloud:*

Research conducted by our Consumer Insights and Strategy (CIS) Department, which provides social media analysis and reporting to understand consumer attitudes and behaviors relative to brands, products, services, and current topics, identifies the following key trends affecting the wealth management industry among full service investment firms. All of the following comments from online consumers were gathered by the CIS Department.

1.  Trust is the most frequent theme in consumers’ online discussions.

Consumers often state that they trust their current advisor/broker. However, a lack of trust prompts many of them to look for a new advisor. New investors also ask advice from their peers when seeking a trustworthy advisor. Some financial advisors are viewed as promoting their own agenda, rather than looking out for their client’s best interests.

2.  Social media has increased the transparency of advisor plans and service levels.

Investors typically share the advice they receive with others to seek validation for their financial plan. Investors also seek feedback from others as a second opinion. Continue reading ›

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