May 2015: 2015 Statement Analysis

As in previous years, using our audit system, we analyze statements in three main categories:

  • Design
  • Content
  • Other

Each of these categories is divided into a number of sub-categories, and then further into individual attributes. In an attempt to be as transparent as possible, a full Competitive Matrix details firm rankings for every attribute in each category. We also list the benchmarks used to ascertain each grade within the Audit Attribute Criteria matrix. Summary Findings are provided to highlight the overall ranking of the entire competitive set, full-service vs. discount firms independently, and firm rankings in each of the three main categories. We also review the findings of the overall competitive set and call out interesting or innovative features currently offered. Finally, individual Detailed Findings are provided for each of the 17 statements reviewed in this report.

Following a well-established trend, the eight full-service firms tracked by Broker Monitor outscored the nine discount firms in terms of overall rankings. The majority of self-directed firms simply provide a high-level overview of a client’s portfolio – thus reducing their ranking for this report. The self-directed firms as a whole scored an average of 2.55 – a significant drop-off from the 3.37 average full-service score.

Additional key findings include:

  • Of the 17 statements reviewed for this report, 11 provide some form of portfolio summary information in the monthly brokerage statements packages.
  • Of the firms that provide portfolio summary details, over 70% provide overarching asset allocation information at the portfolio level.
  • Fourteen firms include basic core figures such as total current account value, and over 75% of firms present a comparative display of current and previous account values by period or year.