Research for Investment Executive’s 2023 Report Card on Banks was conducted by six research journalists: Aneesh Chatterjee, Emily Fox, Roland Inacay, Diane Lalonde, Alisha Mughal and Serge Rousskikh. The researchers interviewed 254 financial planners and advisors across the Big Six banks by telephone between April 26 and June 13.

All respondents were branch-based employees with the banks’ retail divisions who focused on selling investment products and managing clients. Only advisors who were registered to sell mutual funds, had worked with their bank for at least one year and had been in the industry for three or more years were interviewed. They were asked to provide ratings only for the services with which they had direct experience.

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.” For the demographic data collected, advisors with the Bank of Nova Scotia, unlike other survey respondents, serve assigned groups of clients out of a collective base and could not provide individual book data.

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”; “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 edited for clarity only 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.