The Votes Are In: The Best and the Rest Among IBDs

Commonwealth Financial Network snagged the top spot for the second time in a row in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2012 U.S. Financial Advisor Satisfaction Study, with an overall satisfaction score of 917 out of 1,000. Meanwhile, Raymond James Financial Services moved up a spot from the October 2010 survey to take second with a score of 887, compared to the industry average of 774.

But perhaps the greatest improvement came from Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, which moved from No. 7 in 2010 to No. 3 on this year’s list with a score of 831. Cetera moved up four spots to No. 6 on the list. AIG’s Advisor Group and NFP Securities were at the bottom of the list.

David Lo, director of investment services at J.D. Power, said Commonwealth scored particularly high in job duties, firm performance and technology. RJFS advisors are particularly satisfied with its services to advisors, such as software, tools and training; the firm’s people; and its performance, Lo said.

What are the biggest gripes at the indies? According to Lo, a large number of respondents—77 percent—said their firm’s software was not completely integrated. In addition, 43 percent said they’re doing too much non-client service work.

However, many independent firms dropped off the list altogether from the 2010 survey because J.D. Power didn’t receive enough respondents from those IBDs, including Cambridge Investment Research (No. 2 on the 2010 list), Waddell & Reed, Securities America, and Metlife’s broker dealer group. J.D. Power’s ranking was not dramatically different from Registered Rep.’s 2012 Independent Broker/Dealer Report Card, which also had Commonwealth, RJFS, and Cambridge among the top firms.


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