J.D. Power has long measured financial advisor satisfaction at both employee-model brokerages, as well as independent brokerages, separately. But this year, the firm looked at both; Edward Jones and Raymond James took the top spots on the employee side, while Commonwealth Financial Network and Cambridge ranked highest among independent broker/dealer advisors.
On the employee side, Ameriprise ranked third, followed by Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley. UBS and Wells Fargo Advisors ranked below average.
On the independent side, Raymond James Financial Services ranked third, followed by Northwestern Mutual, Ameriprise and LPL Financial. Cetera and Advisor Group ranked below average for satisfaction.
J.D. Power found technology was key to advisor satisfaction, especially with the heightened reliance on digital systems during COVID-19.
“Advisor reliance on technology to manage all aspects of their practice has been growing for many years, but it has been accelerated considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mike Foy, senior director of wealth and lending intelligence at J.D. Power. “While firms are investing heavily, many have been missing the mark on delivering technologies that truly meet advisor needs. In fact, just 48% of advisors say the core technology their firm currently provides is ‘very valuable.’ That needs to change if firms want to win the talent war.”
Integration of the tech stack was one important factor, with platforms with complete integration scoring significantly higher than those without it. Just 21% of advisors in both the employee and independent channels say their platform is “completely integrated,” meaning they have single sign-on, data-syncing and workflow.