Investors Still Unhappy with Advisors, Investment Performance

Finally, satisfaction with investment firms is nearly equal to pre-recession levels; however, three key areas are lagging.

Finally, investor satisfaction with full-service investment firms is nearly equal to pre-recession levels, and Edward Jones ranked the highest in investor satisfaction. However, while overall satisfaction is up over the past three years, it has declined in the three most critical areas.

The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study revealed that overall investor satisfaction is down by one point from 2008, but up over 2011. The study measures satisfaction based on seven factors (in order of importance): investment advisor; investment performance; account information; account offerings; commissions and fees; website; and problem resolution.

"On the surface, some measures of satisfaction would suggest everything is back to normal, but that is not the case," said David Lo, director of investment services at J.D. Power and Associates, in a statement. "On a cautionary note, satisfaction has declined in the three most critical factors."

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The factors that have declined were financial advisor, investment performance, and commission and fees. And yet, the study revealed that investor contact has increased in 2012. In the wake of the recession advisors are reaching out to their clients more.

In 2008 the average number of contacts per year regarding portfolio/asset allocation was 2.3, but in 2012 that had increased to 3.2. The numbers are almost identical for average number of calls regarding investment performance.

"What's happening is that investor expectations have increased, due in part to the recovery period we're in, but also due to increased transparency driven by social media having become more of a mainstream communication platform," Lo said.