If you manage your investments without a financial adviser and are looking for the right brokerage, you might want to look into Fidelity, Vanguard or Charles Schwab.
They scored highest by far for customer satisfaction among self-reliant investors, according to J.D. Power’s 2019 U.S. Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Study, which is now in its 17th year.
The 2019 study is based on responses from about 5,400 investors who make all their investment decisions without a financial adviser. The study divides them into two groups:
- Investors who seek some guidance — meaning they don’t have a dedicated financial adviser but do have access to interact with a registered investment professional
- True DIY investors — meaning those who don’t interact with professional advisers
Brokerages favored by self-directed investors who seek some guidance
J.D. Power measured the satisfaction of investors who seek some guidance based on eight factors. For example, the three most important factors are firm interaction, account information and investment performance.
Brokerages that serve these customers earned overall satisfaction scores of 791 out of 1,000, on average. Only three companies earned higher scores than the industry average. They are:
- Fidelity Investments: overall satisfaction score of 807 out of 1,000
- Vanguard Group: 806
- Charles Schwab: 804
At the other end of this spectrum is Merrill Edge, a brokerage associated with Bank of America. In this category, it earned the lowest overall satisfaction score — 761.
To see how other brokerages scored in this category, check out J.D. Power’s charts.
Brokerages favored by true DIY investors
J.D. Power measured the satisfaction of true do-it-yourself investors based on seven factors. The three most important of these factors are firm interaction, account information and commissions and fees.
Brokerages that serve true DIY investors earned overall satisfaction scores of 768, on average. Only three firms earned above-average scores, and only two of them scored 800 or higher. The three with the highest scores are:
- Charles Schwab: 805
- Vanguard Group: 800
- Merrill Edge: 770
At the other end of this spectrum is WellsTrade, an online brokerage connected to Wells Fargo. It earned the lowest overall satisfaction score in this category — 712.
Again, to see how all brokerages in this category fared, check out J.D. Power’s charts.
Is DIY investing right for you?
Managing your own investments isn’t rocket science, as Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson explains in “Ask Stacy: Do I Need a Financial Adviser, or Can I Manage My Money Myself?”
Educating yourself enough to handle your own portfolio does require some homework, though. If you’re unwilling or unable to do some reading and research, you might be better off seeking some aid from a fiduciary financial adviser or financial planner.
Fiduciaries are obligated to put your best interest before their own. You can find vetted fiduciaries in your area for free through Money Talks News partner Wealthramp.
For more-detailed advice on selecting the right pro, check out “3 Steps to Finding the Perfect Financial Adviser.”
What’s your take on the brokerages that scored highest for self-directed investor satisfaction in J.D. Power’s study? Share your thoughts by commenting below or on our Facebook page.
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