June 18, 2009

One-quarter of U.S. investors ready to ditch financial firm

One-in-four investors are ready to change financial service firms in the next year, according to a Charles Schwab study released Wednesday.

Nearly half those wanting to make a switch cited "the financial stability of my firm being in question" as a top reason. In addition, cost and investment performance were cited (47 percent and 42 percent, respectively). Only slightly more than half (55 percent) of respondents said they trust their current firm, and just a third (36 percent) think their firm is more stable than other firms.

Of the reasons why they wouldn't make the switch, many investors say it's not because they have confidence in their firm, it's because they might lose money in the transition, they don't know of any better options, or it's time consuming to change.

When asked what they would like to be different about their financial firm or broker in the next year, the top responses related to the cost of working with them (34 percent), the quality of advice (32 percent) and the frequency of proactive contact (29 percent).

"With one in four Americans ready to make the move, investors are seeking a genuine partner they can trust to help them plan for the long-term," said Andy Gill, senior vice president at Charles Schwab. "They are understandably frustrated by the last year and have responded by expecting more from the experts they turn to for guidance."

The Schwab study indicates investors are taking a stronger stance on their investment knowledge. Fifty-one percent review their finances daily, as compared to 27 percent prior to fall 2008. When asked what they'll do differently over the next year, a majority (46 percent) say they're going to pay closer attention to how much money they have invested or saved.

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