The Big Picture
Ultimately, regardless of the weights or statistics, the survey tracks the thing that matters the most with clients: perceived value.
If an individual is assessing a discount brokerage based on no other information other than these particular rankings, they could reasonably infer that discount brokerages that rank higher on the Investor Satisfaction Survey have clients that are more likely to be satisfied, especially with respect to the touch points with the firm and the way in which fees are communicated.
Among the different rankings and ratings of Canadian online brokerages, the J.D. Power rankings are relatively more rigorous in terms of their methodology and design. As a result, this is a source that offers a structured way to derive insights about the relationship between a particular online brokerage and their clients.
Individuals looking at the ranking (or any rankings/evaluation) should keep in mind that these numbers reflect a ‘best estimate’ of what consumers are experiencing as measured in a brief window of time. With the industry in such a dynamic state right now, however, those perceptions can shift dramatically because of important changes in the way a discount brokerage does business.
As we will see in the following part of the series, the theme that seems to be emerging amongst DIY investors is a genuine difference between ‘price’ for services and what clients feel they are getting for their money.