Many advisors have a “personal connection” to their service providers, with American Funds, iShares and Jackson National ranking the highest, or are most liked, among advisors in three categories, respectively: mutual funds, ETFs and variable annuities, according to a survey released by Cogent Research.
According to the findings, released as part of Cogent’s Advisor Touchpoints 2012 survey of 1,741 retail investment advisors across all major distribution channels, more advisors “feel a strong personal connection” with American Funds than with any other mutual fund company. Similarly, ETF and variable annuity producers identify iShares and Jackson National as the providers in those categories doing the best job connecting with advisors, the survey found.
When asked to identify the mutual fund company with which they feel the strongest connection, 16% of mutual fund producers surveyed pointed to American Funds, while more than a third (37%) of ETF producers and a quarter (24%) of variable annuity providers identify iShares and Jackson National as the firms achieving the best connection with advisors in their respective product categories.
“Relationships matter,” Linda York, research director at Cogent, said in a statement. “In the case of American Funds and iShares, trust and familiarity built up with advisors over many years has and will continue to sustain these market leaders against the onslaught of competition.”
For Jackson National, which York said overtook Prudential this year on this measure, “it is proof that building a strong connection with advisors can actually propel a company to the top.”
York notes that another strong indicator of future momentum for a provider is the portion of advisors who aren’t currently using a company’s products, but identify the firm as the provider to which they feel personally most connected. “Three specific examples include J.P. Morgan Funds, PowerShares and Jackson Life, where 5%, 9%, and 11% of non-users, respectively, feel more connected to these providers than any other firm in the category—including their current providers,” the survey notes.