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.