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 holly_zagresky@jdpa.com 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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