Our readers were generally satisfied with the services provided by major investment companies. Vanguard, the mutual-fund giant, scored very highly overall among both large investors (those who have more than $500,000 invested) and small investors (those who have less than $500,000 invested).
Nearly one-fifth (19 percent) of all accounts include investments in ETFs (Exchange-Traded Funds), but only 4 percent of all portfolios contain investments in ADRs (American Depository Receipts) and commodities, respectively.
There were several different motivations for investing with specific firms. The leading goal among the respondents to our survey was overall financial security and wealth (74 percent). Saving for retirement was also mentioned in a majority (58 percent) of cases, followed by generating revenue during retirement (42 percent), and investing advantageously for tax purposes (25 percent).
Self-reported returns on investments for the twelve months preceding the survey (fielded between April and June of 2015) indicate a median growth of 7.8 percent across all accounts, with 94 percent showing at least some increase in the value of their accounts.
Respondents to our survey told us that:
*They seek and receive personal advice from a finance professional in only 43 percent of all cases;
*Active trades are relatively uncommon, executed in only 36 percent of all accounts; and
*One-quarter (25 percent) of all investment portfolios are largely risk-adverse, containing only non-indexed mutual funds or IRAs.
Our Readers Rate Investment Companies
Notably, our Investment Company Ratings reflect the experience of small investors (those with under $500,000 invested). Of our readers, they had a median of two different investment instruments. At least one-quarter included the following types of investments: IRA, Non-indexed mutual funds, individual stocks, cash, bonds and indexed mutual funds.
Vanguard Leads in Satisfaction
Among small investors, Vanguard and Dodge & Cox, were rated more favorably than 60 of the 67 rival firms. USAA and T Rowe Price also received high overall satisfaction scores and got high marks on all attributes across the board. At the other end of the spectrum, Citigroup was rated less favorably than all other firms and was the only one to get dinged on each of the five attributes. Putnam and Invesco don’t fare much better, with less favorable ratings than the overwhelming majority of rival firms.
Large investors were very satisfied with all of the firms we rate. But Vanguard beat out each of the other 30 firms in our Ratings and is the only one to get a top mark for returns on investments. T Rowe Price and USAA also performed especially well in our Ratings, besting a majority of their competitors.