Each year the research firm of J.D. Power ranks the largest brokerage firms based on customer satisfaction. This year’s survey polled 5,000 investors and asked them to rate factors such as the quality of their broker, account set-up, investment offerings, and investment performance. Similar polls are taken regarding airlines and other companies which serve the public.
For the second straight year, Morgan Stanley’s retail brokerage unit ranked 11th in customer satisfaction, which was last place in the poll. Highly publicized problems at Morgan Stanley, including a public uprising of high level executives, prompted the ousting of that firm’s CEO.
The management shake-up also included replacement of the head of Morgan Stanley’s retail unit, with James Gorman moving from Merrill Lynch to accept the position. Changes have been initiated by Gorman, including the release of almost 1,000 under-performing brokers and addition of several new products. While his efforts may be a work in progress, results so far have obviously been less than stellar.
Morgan Stanley is not the only major Wall Street brokerage firm to score poorly. Only one Manhattan-based firm, Merrill Lynch, even scored above average in customer satisfaction. Two other large retail operations, Citigroup Inc.’s Smith Barney unit and UBS, ranked below average.
St. Louis based Edward Jones ranked first in the survey for the third consecutive year. A.G. Edwards and Sons, another St. Louis-based company, ranked second. Wachovia, which placed just behind Merill at fifth in the survey, is in the process of acquiring A.G. Edwards to become second to Merrill in number of retail brokers.
Shepherd Smith and Edwards represents investors nationwide in claims against members of the securities industry. We have helped numerous clients to recover in claims against each of the firms ranked by J.D. Power in the survey. To learn whether we can also assist you to recover, contact us to arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys.