Brokers have revealed their feelings about themselves in the first-ever National Financial Broker Sentiment Index, and overall, "brokers are quite satisfied with their careers," says Norman Malo, president and CEO of National Financial, the Fidelity company that provides clearing and execution services to more than 300 financial institutions. Respondents to the survey gave the profession a 5.4 rating out of a possible seven on a satisfaction scale. After the clearing firm said its clients reported that recruiting and retaining talent is their number one issue, National Financial surveyed more than 700 experienced brokers--from regional, bank, insurance, independent, and wirehouse broker/dealers--asking about their attitudes toward their employer, work/life balance, client relationships, and outlook on the financial markets.
Expressing optimism on most fronts, 69% of the respondents said they were so satisfied that they'd recommend the career to their children, and 71% said what they liked best about their profession was "helping people achieve their goals." On average, the respondents expect the S&P 500 to return 7.2% for the next 12 months, and 81% of them expect that they will beat that return for their clients. Brokers are "largely happy with their employer," noted Malo, with 80% reporting that they are likely to stay with their firm over the next year, although 13% said they were likely to switch, and 7% were neutral.
Compensation, product development, and marketing support are "the three things companies need to invest in," to retain brokers, according to Sandy Metraux, senior VP of marketing at National Financial.
The survey netted a profile of top producers, those with more than $50 million AUM--they are 36% of all brokers. Of those 33% are fee based and 32% are on commission. Wirehouses are home to 54% of the top brokers.--Kathleen M. McBride