Investors who work with self-service brokerages are less happy with their trading relationships than they were last year, noting unexpected and poorly explained fees as the reason for their disappointment.
According to J.D. Power & Associates, on average, self-directed investors reported that their satisfaction dipped 30 points on a 1,000-point scale, largely due to resentment surrounding miscellaneous account costs.
USAA scored best on a combination of fewer trading fees and the best "interaction" -- relationship management, in the discount broker world -- in the group.
Merrill Edge fared worst in all categories, but was ranked only slightly below Wells Fargo's discount broker operation.
And buried in the results was an endorsement for financial planning. As J.D. Power says, 71% of the investors they talked to "say they are not aware of or do not use at least one financial planning tool. When this key practice is missing, overall satisfaction declines by 66 points, on average."