For the seventh year in a row, research conducted by Pollara on behalf of The Investment Funds Institute of Canada (IFIC) shows mutual funds lead the way when it comes to investor confidence.

The 7th Annual Landscape Survey asked mutual fund owners to rank mutual funds, GICs, stocks, bonds and ETFs according to how much confidence they have in each product to help them achieve their financial goals. Mutual funds achieved and 80% confidence level compared with 68% for GICs, 59% for bonds, 56% for stocks, and 31% for ETFs.

Fund investors also continue to express a strong preference for receiving information about potential fund purchases from their advisor (81%) and for using the advice channel to make their fund purchases (85%).

Glen Gowland, IFIC chairman, speaking at the association’s annual leadership conference on Wednesday commented on the ancillary benefits that advisors deliver. “We know that households receiving financial advice are better savers and ultimately have more financial assets than households that don’t receive advice,” Gowland said.

This year’s survey also includes data about the profile of the typical first time investor, “Forty-one percent of survey respondents reported that they started investing with less than $10, 000,” Gowland noted. “Twenty-two percent had less than $5,000 — and 72% reported having little or no investment experience. These facts underline the importance of making affordable advice accessible to first-time investors. For the industry, governments and regulators, these findings also underscore the importance of building financial literacy. This has been a goal of IFIC and its members from the beginning,” Mr. Gowland said.

Other topics covered in the survey assess investor knowledge about mutual fund purchases, satisfaction levels with advisors, reasons for using advisors versus trading independently, and investor understanding of advisor compensation.

The complete 2012 Pollara Survey is available on the IFIC website here.