Regional Firms Get High Marks for Service: J.D. Power Study

Investors of late have been more impressed by regional brokerage firms, which they feel are providing better services than most industry giants, according to J.D. Power and Associates’ first Full-Service Investor Satisfaction Study.

Investors of late have been more impressed by regional brokerage firms, which they feel are providing better services than most industry giants, according to J.D. Power and Associates’ first Full-Service Investor Satisfaction Study.

A.G. Edwards and Edward Jones tied for the top ranking, followed closely by Dain Rauscher, Legg Mason and Raymond James.

UBS PaineWebber, American Express and Morgan Stanley were the biggest firms to rank above the industry average.

Charles Schwab, Merrill Lynch, Prudential and Salomon Smith Barney finished at or below the industry average.

Results of the study, released in late June, were based on responses of over 8,500 investors. Key drivers in customer satisfaction included customer service, advice, account management, and information resources. Firms that kept investors informed and provided sound advice "are being rewarded with increased trust," says Ellen Guion, senior research manager of investment services at J.D. Power.

The study also found that investors are wary of Internet based offerings. Aggregation services—those that allow investors to compile all account information on a single Web site—are not often used, and are "unlikely to be used in the future."

On average, only 6 percent of investors use aggregation services. Investors have privacy concerns. Guion says investors, particularly those over age 55, are reluctant to share all their financial information with one source.

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