The J.D. Power study measures satisfaction among both employee advisors and independent advisors based on seven key factors: client support, compensation, firm leadership, operational support, problem resolution, professional development and technology support. It is based on responses from 3,571 advisors collected from January through May 2019.

(Related: Best & Worst BDs for Advisors: J.D. Power — 2018)

This year’s J.D. Power U.S. Financial Advisor Satisfaction Study includes a mix of good and bad news.

On the upside, the average satisfaction score for both employee and independent advisors improved over 2018. This is true for the majority of employee broker-dealers and indie BDs. 

However, the survey finds that wealth management firms have much room for improvement when it comes to technology, especially when it concerns younger financial professionals. 

Advisors under age 40, so-called “digital natives,” expect technology to play a more important role in developing a successful practice than older advisors, according to the 2019 J.D. Power research. Plus, they are much less satisfied with the technology support they now get from their brokerage firm than more senior advisors.

“The … new generation of mobile financial advisors is interacting with clients and prospects via a range of digital channels including social media, text, chat and video,” said Mike Foy, senior director of Wealth and Lending Intelligence for the research firm, in a statement.

“When it comes to technology, younger advisors score their firm low on reliability, relevance and responsiveness of support,” Foy added. “This group has high expectations and firms will need to raise the bar to meet them going forward.”

Here are several other key findings:

  • About one-fourth (26%) of employee advisors under 40 aren’t aware of or don’t use smartphone-friendly tools; nearly half, 49%, don’t use tablet-friendly tools; and many younger advisors cite a lack of integration with other tools as a reason for not using these resources.
  • More than two-fifths, or 42%, of employee advisors under age 40 say their firms do not let them use social media to communicate with clients or prospects. 
  • Among employee reps under 40 who are highly satisfied with their firm’s technology, 82% say they “definitely will” stay with their firm and 76% say they “definitely will” recommend their firm to other reps. 
  • Among advisors dissatisfied with technology, only 33% say they “definitely will” remain and 29% “definitely will” recommend.

“Wealth management firms that embrace these technologies and train and empower advisors to use them effectively will ultimately win the war for talent, but very few are delivering the solutions that younger advisors demand,” according to Foy.

Check out the gallery above to see how the BDs ranked in 2019.

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