macro view of tablet computer and touchscreen smartphones with colorful interfaces on laptop notebook pc

Canadian retail bank customers are less satisfied with the financial advice their banks provide, says a new study by J.D. Power and Associates.

Customer satisfaction with Canadian banks’ advice dropped two points to 789 (on a 1,000-point scale) from 2018, according to the J.D. Power 2019 Canada Retail Banking Advice Study. In contrast, satisfaction in the U.S. rose by 15 points.

Of the Canadian banks, the Bank of Nova Scotia ranks highest in customer satisfaction with retail banking advice (with a score of 806). Royal Bank of Canada ranks second, with a score of 803, and Bank of Montreal ranks third with a score of 792. The industry average was 789; TD Canada Trust scored 780 and CIBC scored 762.

The study finds 85% of bank customers are interested in receiving financial advice from their bank and 72% of those who receive advice act on it.

“There is clear demand for financial advice among Canadian bank retail customers, and when banks get the formula right, that advice drives significant customer loyalty and advocacy,” says Paul McAdam, senior director of J.D. Power’s banking practice, in a statement. “But many banks are still missing the mark.”

The study finds retail bank customers are looking for investment-related advice (49%); quick tips to improve their financial situation (44%); retirement-related advice (44%); advice to keep track of spending and household budgets (34%); and in-depth analysis of their financial situation (32%).

Customers are particularly keen to receive financial advice, specifically investment advice, through digital platforms, but only a fraction do.

“Increasingly, all signs are pointing to digital advice offerings as the channel where retail banks can drive the most significant improvement,” says McAdam. While 57% of customers say they’d like to receive advice via digital channels, only 10% of them do.

Providing actionable financial advice to banking clients drives retention, the study finds. Of customers who are “highly satisfied” with their banks’ advice, 86% say they “definitely will” look to their bank for other products.