DIY Investors Love These 3 Brokerage Firms

investor uses brokerage account
Photo by Dean Drobot / Shutterstock.com

If you manage your investments without a financial adviser and are looking for the right brokerage, you might want to look into Vanguard, Charles Schwab or Fidelity.

They scored highest for customer satisfaction among self-reliant investors, according to J.D. Power’s 2020 U.S. Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Study, which is now in its 18th year.

The 2020 study is based on responses from more than 5,500 investors who make all their investment decisions without a full-service dedicated 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 commissions and fees.

Brokerages that serve these customers earned overall satisfaction scores of 801 out of 1,000 points, on average. The three highest-scoring of these companies are:

  • Vanguard Group: overall satisfaction score of 820 out of 1,000
  • Charles Schwab: 819
  • Fidelity Investments: 800

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 — 754.

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. As with the other category, 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 786, on average. The three with the highest scores are:

  • Charles Schwab: 817
  • Vanguard Group: 800
  • Fidelity Investments: 790

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 — 732.

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 “How to Find the Right Financial Adviser.”

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