TD Ameritrade Wins Luxury Brand Ranking

Every brokerage firm is courting wealthy clients, and many of them say that serving the wealthy is what they do best. So just how are these firms doing? A new study based on high-net-worth customer opinions reveals a surprising mix of success and failure at 20 of the most prominent brokerage firms. Perhaps most surprising is who comes out on top: Online brokerage and RIA advisory firm TD Waterhouse

Every brokerage firm is courting wealthy clients, and many of them say that serving the wealthy is what they do best. So just how are these firms doing? A new study based on high-net-worth customer opinions reveals a surprising mix of success and failure at 20 of the most prominent brokerage firms.

Perhaps most surprising is who comes out on top: Online brokerage and RIA advisory firm TD Waterhouse (now known as TD Ameritrade) beat out full-service powerhouses Smith Barney, UBS, Merrill Lynch and Wachovia, just to name a few.

The Luxury Institute, an independent research organization, conducted the survey, which polled 1,000 consumers who were at least 21 years old and had an income of at least $150,000. Average household income for respondents was $616,000, and average net worth was $3.8 million.

Respondents were asked to rate on a scale of 0 to 10 only the firms they were familiar with on four issues: consistently superior quality; unique and exclusive brand; social status; and overall customer experience. The four values were averaged to get the final ranking.

The top 10 firms from the list are, in order: TD Waterhouse (now known as TD Ameritrade), Smith Barney, Charles Schwab, Fidelity Brokerage, Deutsche Bank, Oppenheimer, UBS, A.G. Edwards, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.

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