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Morgan Stanley, Wells Fargo and LPL All Dropped in This Key Rating

By Alex Padalka November 15, 2018

Customer satisfaction with financial advisors has dipped 1.2% on average, with LPL Financial dropping the most in the group, a recent survey found.

Satisfaction with financial advisors fell from a score of 80 out of 100 in 2017 to 79 in 2018, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index on finance and insurance.

That puts financial advisors below credit unions and banks, each of which scored 81 this year, in terms of customer satisfaction, according to the ACSI, which conducted interviews with 25,555 customers between October 2017 and September 2018.

Independent advisors, however, had a 3% increase in customer satisfaction, getting a score of 81 this year, the survey found.

Morgan Stanley dropped 2% to 79 while Wells Fargo, despite being in the spotlight for scandals and investigations across its various businesses, dropped just 1%, also scoring 79, according to the report.

LPL Financial experienced the biggest drop in customer satisfaction, falling 5% from a score of 82 in 2017 to 78 this year, ACSI says.

The company’s website score is also below average for financial advisors as a whole, according to the report. LPL has acknowledged that its new technology rollout has left some users less than satisfied, and the firm was recently fined $2.75 million over alleged failures to handle client complaints and further failures in its anti-money laundering program, ACSI says.

Fidelity and Merrill Lynch had no change, with each scoring 79, while Raymond James maintained its score of 81 and Charles Schwab a score of 82. UBS improved its score by 1%, rising to 80 in 2018, according to the survey.

One of the key takeaways for advisors is that clients wish they would be contacted more often in writing as well as in person, scores for both of which dropped in 2018, ACSI found. Moreover, clients feel less satisfied about advisors’ fee competitiveness and how they explain their fees, according to the survey.

The finance and insurance sector overall, which includes banks, credit unions, health insurance, property and casualty insurance, life insurance, internet investment services, and financial advisors, had a 1.4% rise in customer satisfaction, reaching 78.3 in 2018, ACSI writes.