Indie reps happier at work than wirehouse advisers: J.D. Power

Commonwealth garners highest job satisfaction score in annual ranking

Apr 11, 2013 @ 4:16 pm

By Liz Skinner

Independent advisers continue to be happier at work than their colleagues who are employees of broker dealers.

According to a new survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, the job satisfaction score of independent advisers increased to an average of 794, a 20-point boost over last year. In comparison, the job satisfaction score for advisers employed by a broker dealer came in at 695, about the same as last year, according to the survey of 2,500 advisers released on Thursday.

Edward Jones' advisers ranked the happiest of those working for a broker dealer, with a score of 907, and those at Commonwealth Financial Network ranked highest in satisfaction among the independents, with a score of 945. Based on a 1,000 point scale, the study measures adviser satisfaction about firm performance, compensation, ability to resolve the adviser's problems, the people they work with, their job duties and the service and support they receive, among other factors.

The results show that all advisers want to work in a supportive work environment where people make them feel a part of a team, and where they are given the technology, services and other tools to develop strong relationships with clients, according to Craig Martin, director of investment services at J.D. Power.

Help to prevent or resolve problems like computer issues or paperwork errors is one of the important factors driving an adviser's job satisfaction, the survey found. About 40% of advisers experienced such a problem in the last 12 months, it said.

“We have seen independents really improve and tackle some of the issues that seem to have caused greater dissatisfaction in the past, such as dealing with problems,” Mr. Martin said. “They are doing a better job resolving adviser issues quickly and promptly, improving their experience and helping them to serve clients.”

An adviser's business is focused on working with customers, so advisers are happiest working in a firm with a culture that's focused around the customer and helping advisers attract and retain clients, he said.

“There's always the perception that incentives or pay are the biggest drivers of happiness, but we're finding consistently that how they feel about their firm is most significant,” Mr. Martin said.

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