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Special Series: JD Power & Associates Discount Brokerage Rankings Explained – Part 3

In this final section of our special series on the J.D. Power & Associates Discount Broker Investor Satisfaction Survey, we look at the survey from the perspectives of its creators as well as the company that has placed first in investor satisfaction for the past four years.  Dr. Lubo Li, Senior Director and Industry Practice Leader for Canada at J.D. Power and Associates and Laurent Blanchard, Vice President and Manager of Online Brokerage at Disnat – shared their perspectives with us on the value of the investor satisfaction survey, and what it means for both consumers as well as the discount brokerage industry.

As we’ve learned from the previous sections in this series (click here for part 1 or here for part 2), the Investor Satisfaction Survey measures the experiences of consumers with different discount brokerages in Canada.  According to Dr. Li, however, the value of the survey goes beyond simply looking at experiences.   The real strength of the survey, he explained, is its ability to measure the “voice of the customer” and uncover “perceived customer value.” In short, the survey results reflect what consumers believe are important components to having a discount brokerage account.

Reliability matters

As any quick Google search will reveal, reliable and impartial measures of consumer opinions on Canadian discount brokerages are hard to come by. Thus, for consumers of financial products, the opportunity to access reliable feedback from their peers is invaluable.  Since a survey is only as useful as it is accurate,  consumers must be skeptical when coming across ‘polls’, surveys or other rankings by asking how they were devised and measured. As we’ve seen over the past year, several discount brokerages have been considered “the best” depending on who’s doing the ranking. Defining and measuring “investor satisfaction” accurately and transparently was therefore critical to the overall reliability of the investor satisfaction survey. For example, Dr. Li was able to explain that the reason the rankings (covered in section 1) were ordered in the way they were was because that was the priority most investors placed on those items.  To review, the six categories of investor satisfaction are:

  1. Interaction
  2. Trading Charges and Fees
  3. Account Information
  4. Account Offerings
  5. Information Resources
  6. Problem Resolution

Interestingly, when asked why something as seemingly important as “Problem Resolution” was placed last on the scale, Dr. Li answered that while the importance of receiving help when it is needed is high, the frequency with which that occurs relative to other situations is actually quite low.  The example he gave was using the insurance industry where although the essence of why insurance is useful is precisely because one may need it in an emergency, the frequency of those occurrences is actually quite rare. Similarly, for discount broker customers,the more immediate concerns of being able to get a hold of someone or how much a transaction costs score higher on the list of priorities hence they  are given greater importance for scoring.

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