When it comes to client satisfaction, investors gave Edward Jones and Fidelity Investments top scores in J.D. Power's 2015 investor satisfaction study.
Edward Jones and Fidelity tied for first place with an overall satisfaction score of 812 on a 1,000 point scale, five points above the industry average.
Both firms were highlighted for different strengths: Edward Jones performed particularly well in the investment advisor and investment performance factors, while Fidelity did well in the account offerings and account information categories.
Overall investor satisfaction remained unchanged from the year-ago period, coming in at a score of 807 with the top 10 firms scoring within seven points of the industry average.
"It's very close," says Michael Foy, director of the wealth management practice at J.D. Power. "Among the top firms and their scores, there's not a very clear and decisive winner."
And though most of the firms made the cut in 2014, there were three were new entrants this year: Stifel, Lincoln Financial and U.S Bank.
Now in its thirteenth year, the market research firm's annual report measures overall customer satisfaction with full-service investment firms while focusing on seven factors: investment advisor, investment performance, account information, account offerings, commissions and fees, website and problem resolution. Over 5,300 investors participated in the study.
Here are the top 10 firms:
Data: J.D. Power & Associates
Chart created by datavisu.al
According to Foy, the narrow range of investor rankings may actually be good for firms lower down on the list.
"There's a real opportunity for a firm in the middle of the pack to define a clear market position or value proposition and effectively execute on that and catapult into the lead," he says.
The survey noted another missed opportunity for advisors and their firms to help clients pass on assets to their heirs. "The wealth transfer opportunity is a big deal given the amount of assets in play," says Foy.
While 71% of the investors surveyed have established next-generation beneficiaries, only 42% of investors were asked by their advisors to have the conversation. The survey found that advisors who asked about establishing next-gen beneficiaries got higher satisfaction scores than those who did not.
"A lot of advisors are not as focused on it as you might think they would be," he says, adding that "it's interesting to see that gap -- investors are interested and welcoming that conversation and advisors are not really raising the issue."