Financial Services

Online Brokerage Firms Strain under Weight of New Investor Surge

With more than 10 million new brokerage accounts opened in 2020 as mainstream investor interest skyrocketed during the pandemic, retail brokerage firms struggled to deliver a seamless customer experience. According to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Study,SM released earlier this week, the number of problems cited by customers doubled during the past year, with website issues, processing and trade execution failures and account statement errors leading the way.

The significant influx of new investors—and increased trading volumes and overall engagement from clients—clearly put a strain on the system and a spotlight on some of the most critical areas that firms need to address if they want to continue to attract and retain self-service investors. With virtually every firm now offering free trading and new investors showing lower levels of brand loyalty, firms that get the customer satisfaction formula right have a chance to set themselves apart from the competition.

Following are key findings of the 2021 study:

  • Frequent glitches sap customer satisfaction
  • Robinhood leads in new accounts but struggles to build trust
  • Investor education remains best resource, but brokerages not delivering
  • Meeting clients’ holistic financial needs

The U.S. Self-Directed Investor Satisfaction Study, now in its 19th year, evaluates key satisfaction drivers and firm performance among both investors seeking guidance (those who don’t have a dedicated financial advisor but do have access to interact with a registered investment professional) and true do-it-yourself investors (those who do not interact with professional advisors). Join our mailing list to get updates on the study. 

J.D. Power In The News

Wall Street Journal: Robinhood Has a Customer Service Problem

Trading on Robinhood Markets Inc. takes seconds. Getting an account problem fixed can take weeks.

Business Insider: The surge of retail traders entering the stock market is straining systems for online brokers
Retail investors using online brokerage accounts are increasingly running into problems, including issues with trade executions as companies deal with a jump in the number of clients