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Best Mutual Fund Firms for Service: Dalbar

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On Wednesday, Dalbar announced the winners of its 2014 Mutual Fund Service Award, which recognizes mutual fund firms that provide consistently high levels of service to their customers.

The mutual fund firms recognized by Dalbar for high-quality service include BlackRock, Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management, JPMorgan Funds, Lord Abbett, MainStay Investments, Primerica and Putnam Investments.

Dalbar evaluated firms based on several metrics. Representatives at award-winning firms made their customers feel “important and valued” in 90% of conversations Dalbar found, compared with 77% of conversations at peer firms.

Additionally, representatives at winning firms were better able to provide detailed information for customers than peer firms: 89% versus 77%.

“The level of service performance achieved by these companies sets extremely high standards for their competitors and in doing so improves the service levels to customers across the industry as a whole,” Kathleen Whalen, managing director at Dalbar, said in a statement.

Dalbar noted that in addition to providing high-quality service, it’s been provided consistently, too. In 25 years of recognizing mutual fund providers, Putnam has won 23 times. BlackRock has been recognized 15 times, and JPMorgan and MainStay have each been recognized 14 times. Lord Abbett and Primerica have won 12 times and Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management six times.

Dalbar evaluates firms throughout the year to test their level of customer service by taking a random sample of calls between representatives and investors. Calls are judged based on representative attidude, accommodation, expertise and how well they handle interruptions like silences, holds and transfers. Firms that exceed Dalbar’s benchmarks after one year are recognized as Mutual Fund Service Award winners.

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