While this month's issue collects your thoughts about industry employers, the SIA just released data on investors' opinions of you. The SIA Investor Survey, conducted by Yankelovich Partners, gauges investors' confidence in and satisfaction with the securities industry.
At the annual SIA meeting in Boca Raton, Fla., SIA Chairman James Brinkley shared the generally positive news. "Despite extended periods of market volatility, and a pullback in the market's value, the vast majority of investors are satisfied with the services provided by their brokers and have a favorable opinion of the securities industry," he said. At 95%, nearly all investors with brokers say they are "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with the service their broker provides.
However, respondents say they could stand to learn more from their brokers. Their "most pressing" educational need is for general information about investing and specifics about stocks, companies and investment products.
The survey is rich with detail and could help you better understand what your clients are thinking. Make time to check out the report at www.sia.com/publications/html/investor_survey.html.
Investors were also the focus of remarks by SEC Chairman Arthur Levitt. He outlined many initiatives - some complete and some under way - that the SEC has undertaken on behalf of the investing public.
Levitt acknowledged that some industry heavyweights may consider him "a traitor to my class," referring to how agency initiatives are tilted to benefit retail investors. But as brokers, you and your peers should also be putting your clients' interests first and should applaud this man's efforts.
A recent example is Regulation FD (Fair Disclosure). The new rule gives retail investors access to information public companies used to disseminate only to analysts or institutions. Although this has rankled many brokerage execs, I don't see the harm in this. The information will enable clients to make more informed and timely decisions with their brokers. View Regulation FD as beneficial since it gives you a new tool to use with customers.