Between Jan. 4 and June 11, Investment Executive interviewed a total of 1,667 respondents from 38 firms to conduct the 2021 Brokerage Report Card (BRC), Dealers’ Report Card (DRC), Report Card on Banks (RCB), and Insurance Advisors’ Report Card (IARC). The respective survey periods in that timeframe were Jan. 4 to Feb. 12 for the BRC, followed by May publication; Feb. 16 to March 26 for the DRC, followed by June publication; March 29 and May 3 for the RCB, followed by August publication; and May 4 to June 11 for the IARC, followed by September publication.

Across all Report Cards, respondents must have worked for the firms they were rating for at least one year and been in the industry for at least three years, among other licensing and segment-specific requirements.

Five research journalists conducted the interviews: Camille Côté, Emily Fox, James Gaughan, Surina Nath and Daniel Reale-Chin. They asked advisors and planners to provide two ratings for the categories that applied to their practices and the firms, banks or insurance agencies that they worked for or processed business through. For both performance and importance, the advisors had to provide a rating between zero (meaning “poor” or “unimportant”) and 10 (meaning “excellent” or “critically important”). Advisors were also asked how likely they’d be to recommend their firms on the same scale, resulting in a Net Promoter Score for each of the 38 companies.

The Advisors’ Report Card examines the categories relevant to all industry segments and for which questions were posed to all respondents across all Report Cards. There are exceptions, including “Back office & administrative support” — a category covered in the insurance Report Card but differently from other Report Cards — and “Support for insurance planning,” which does not apply to the Report Card on Banks.

In 2021, four categories were removed across all Report Cards. Two categories were added (“Bonus structure” and “Client onboarding tools”), with a third created by merging the two client statement categories:“Client account statements.” Several category names were adjusted for clarity, but the categories kept their focus and methodology.

Respondents were also asked two supplementary questions: to rate the pandemic support they received from their firms and how prepared they felt for the Canadian Securities Administrators’ conflict-of-interest requirements that came into effect on June 30, both on a scale of zero to 10.