The global financial crisis of 2008 was a harsh reminder to investors about the importance of doing business with a trusted financial firm. The fear of bank failures and the potential collapse of other wealth management and financial firms served as a wake-up call for investors to ensure that their money is in good hands. In the investment world, trust is a key factor, and Fidelity Investments has emerged as the most trusted financial company in Investor’s Business Daily’s 2023 survey.
Fidelity, a Boston-based firm, earned the top spot in all three investment categories: ETF/fund companies, online brokers, and wealth management. It also secured the overall No. 1 position in the survey. Rival firm Charles Schwab performed well in the banking category and ranked highly in wealth management, online brokers, and ETF/fund companies. Both Fidelity and Schwab were also recognized in the 2022 survey, indicating their consistent commitment to trustworthiness.
The survey, conducted with 7,597 customers, focused on seven trust attributes deemed important by investors. These attributes included a company’s financial soundness, product quality, commitment to protecting personal data, ethical practices, customer service, fair prices and fees, and sensitivity to customer needs during times of economic volatility. A staggering 90.7% of respondents emphasized the importance of trust in their relationships with financial firms, with financial soundness being the most significant attribute.
Fidelity prioritizes its customers and aims to establish lifelong partnerships with them. The firm is dedicated to improving their financial well-being and ensuring better investment outcomes. This commitment includes offering portfolio guidance during market turbulence, providing a diverse product lineup with low fees, and investing in cutting-edge technology to enhance customers’ digital experience and protect their personal data. Fidelity’s strength and stability, accumulated over 76 years in the wealth management business, contribute to its reputation as a trusted financial firm.
Fidelity’s extensive offerings cater to various investors, including retirement savers, active traders, and do-it-yourselfers. Account holders can engage in stock, fund, and ETF trading through smartphone apps or online platforms, seek advice from robo-advisors or experts, and access educational resources such as research, webinars, and fund screeners. The firm’s comprehensive services and long-standing reputation instill trust in its customers.
Greg Friedman, Fidelity’s head of ETF management and strategy, highlights the company’s focus on providing access to a diverse range of investment styles and low-cost investment vehicles. Fidelity customers can choose from over 9,000 mutual funds (with 35% not charging a transaction fee) and 2,500 commission-free ETFs, meeting the demand for different investment strategies. The firm has also introduced actively managed ETFs, including thematic ones like the Disruptive Automation ETF, which invests in artificial intelligence, industrial robotics, and autonomous driving.
While Charles Schwab faced scrutiny during the recent banking crisis, the firm’s solid reputation as a safe haven remained intact. Schwab emphasizes trust as the foundation of its business, emphasizing its responsibility to protect clients’ life savings and ensure their assets are secure. American Funds/Capital Group completes the list of the three most trusted ETF/fund companies, demonstrating its commitment to the trust attributes valued by investors.
Fidelity’s online brokerage enjoys steadfast trust from its investors, earning the highest rating of 87.8. It excelled in six of the seven key attributes, losing the top spot only in the area of prices to Vanguard Brokerage. Fidelity’s focus on innovation, continuous improvement of online and digital trading experiences, and personalized portfolio and online experiences contribute to its success. The firm introduced the Trading Dashboard, a web-based platform that simplifies investment activity monitoring and management for clients. It also launched Fidelity Solo FidFolios, allowing DIY investors to buy fractional shares and customize their stock index.
Charles Schwab closely follows Fidelity in the online brokerage category with an 85.2 rating. Schwab places great importance on wealth management and customer service, ensuring that clients receive prompt assistance from knowledgeable representatives. TD Ameritrade, acquired by Schwab in 2020, ranked third among online brokers, reflecting the trust it has built with investors over the years.
Overall, trust is paramount in the financial industry. The 2023 survey highlights the significance of trust attributes such as financial soundness, product quality, and commitment to protecting personal data. Fidelity and Charles Schwab have emerged as the most trusted financial companies in various investment categories, earning recognition from investors for their unwavering commitment to trust and reliability. These firms understand that the key to a good night’s sleep for investors lies in knowing that their money is in good hands.