TAG | affluent investors need complicated services
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They say, trust is easy to lose and hard to regain, writes Andrew Osterland in a recent article in Investment News.
A recent survey conducted by public relations firm Edelman on investors’ attitudes towards the financial services industry seems to confirm the aphorism.
In the survey, Edelman interviewed 503 investors with $10,000 or more invested in liquid assets and/or mutual funds, and 38% of them said that their level of trust in the financial services industry had decreased in the last year. Fifty-three percent of respondents said it had remained the same, and just 9% said that they trusted the industry more compared with a year ago.
“We would have thought that as the economy has improved and the bad news has faded, the level of trust in the industry would have increased, but it hasn’t,” said Julie Crothers, a senior vice president at Edelman. “The state of consumer trust in the industry is not good.”
The attitudes were worse for some than others. Edelman asked investors for their attitudes towards eight financial service provider groups. Private-equity firms — with whom few of the investors likely had personal experience — were ranked the least trustworthy. Just 32% of respondents gave such firms a ranking of 6 or higher on a scale of nine as to their level of trust that such institutions would “do what is right.” Investment banks (35%), and property-and-casualty insurers (37%) scored only slightly higher. Life insurance companies (42%), brokerage firms (43%) and large national banks (45%) fared better still.
Also, the survey reported that the institutions that scored the highest marks were community banks (67%) and mutual fund companies (55%).
Edelman broke out the top 18% of the investor group as “entry level affluents.” These investors have annual incomes of more than $150,000 and investments of more than $100,000. They are highly educated (92% have a college degree), majority male (61%) and predominantly white (93%).
In contrast to the broader group, these investors tended to have relatively more trust in large national banks, brokerage firms and investment banks compared than the less affluent investors. “That is likely a reflection of the fact that more-affluent investors have a need for more-complicated services such as those offered by large banks and brokers,” Ms. Crothers said.
The more interesting insight from the survey was that investors tended to view client-facing employees as the most credible sources of information about a financial-services firm. Thirty-seven percent of investors said that brokers, advisers, agents or bankers were the most credible source of information. Portfolio managers ranked second (15%) in this regard, with affluent investors (21%) finding them substantially more credible. Chief executives and senior managers, on the other hand, scored a miserable 5% —3% from affluent investors — on the credibility meter.
“It sends a clear message to the firms’ marketing divisions that CEOs may not be good spokespeople for the companies at this point,” said Ms. Crothers.
Call a Securities Arbitration Lawyer for a free consultation on how to recover your losses. To speak with an attorney, call 888-760-6552, or visit www.stockmarketlawsuit.com. Soreide Law Group, PLLC., representing investors nationwide before FINRA the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority
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