This article appears in the June 2023 issue of Investment Executive. Subscribe to the print edition, read the digital edition or read the articles online.

Research for Investment Executive’s (IE) 2023 Brokerage Report Card was conducted by seven research journalists: Aneesh Chatterjee, Emily Fox, Roland Inacay, Tiana Kirton, Diane Lalonde, Alisha Mughal and Serge Rousskikh. The researchers spoke with 638 investment advisors across Canada with 14 brokerage firms: eight independent and six bank-owned brokerages.

Research was conducted via telephone interviews held between Jan. 3 and Feb. 27.

Participants were asked to provide two ratings for their firm’s services, one for performance and the other for importance, on a scale of zero to 10. A rating of zero means “very poor” or “unimportant,” while a rating of 10 signifies “excellent” or “critically important.” Advisors were asked to provide ratings only for services with which they had direct experience. All respondents were full-time financial advisors, had worked at their firm for at least one year, had worked in the industry for at least three years and were registered with investment dealers.

The Report Card series isn’t an awards program or contest, and it isn’t a ranking exercise. It doesn’t base inclusion or results on sales activity, revenue or assets. The project is editorial-driven market research that pushes firms to assess and address their own advisors’ concerns and needs about the tools and services with which they’re provided. It’s based on sentiment, aggregate data and uses rigorous methodology.

IE removed two categories compared with past years to reduce repetition with Net Promoter Score results: “corporate culture” and “reputation with clients & prospects.” Furthermore, some past categories were edited to reflect the industry’s evolution: “technology tools & advisor desktop” is now split into “client relationship tools” and “general technology training & IT support”; “support for fee-based models” is now “systems for fee-based advisors”; “social media support” is now “social media training & compliance”; the “support for wills & estate planning” and “support for tax planning” categories were combined; and “leadership stability” is now “leadership team.”

Other category names were moved or edited for clarity and organized under new subheadings.

Advisors also are asked two supplemental questions each year. This year, respondents were asked: 1) what percentage of their books were composed of clients in the asset-decumulation stage, and what challenges those investors face; and 2) to rate, on an ascending scale of zero to 10, and comment on the difficulty of guiding and advising clients in the current economic environment, considering inflation, interest rates and other pressures.