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Rating:No Surprise: A New Survey Shows That American Funds' Brand is an FA Favorite Not Rated 0.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Thursday, July 09, 2009

No Surprise: A New Survey Shows That American Funds' Brand is an FA Favorite

Reported by Meredith Mazzilli

American Funds, iShares and Ivy Funds took the top three spots in Brand Association Score rankings in a recent survey sponsored by kasina. In addition, the survey revealed some standouts in specific categories—for instance, PIMCO was characterized by advisors as especially sophisticated while Vanguard had a strong association with low costs. Firms were evaluated based on criteria such as cost, ease of doing buisiness, trustworthiness, social responsibility and innovation.

Lee Kowarski, a kasina principal, explained the survey’s origins and methodology to MFWire. The FA Vision survey series was born when kasin formed a partnership with the online advisor community Horsesmouth this April to establish FA Vision, and the Brand Association Survey is the first in a planned number of surveys aimed at characterizing advisor’s thoughts on firms wholesalers, brands, products and intermediaries (see The MFWire, 4/21/09) . Horsesmouth has roughly 70,000 members, and while FA Vision is the first official partnership between kasina and the online community, Kowarski said that the two companies have had an informal working relationship for many years.

The survey, which was completed at the end of April, supplied roughly a half million data points, and Kowarski noted that, to the best of his knowledge, it represents the largest such survey of financial intermediaries. Kowarski noted that additional conclusions from the survey are forthcoming and that kasina will be issuing a “Nugget of the Week” email to share ongoing commentary regarding the survey.

The study considered a pool of twenty fund firms, the constituents of which were determined both by those firms judged to be the largest and most prominent as well as firms who replied to kasina’s request to be included. Further surveys are expected to consider a larger base of fund firms.

Kowarski noted a substantial level of tiering in the survey results. For example, American Funds scored significantly higher than the remainder of the firms under consideration, and Kowarski believes that this gulf “speaks to consistency of [American] telling the story of the brand over many years.”

Survey results also suggested that FAs are starting to think outside the box and are willing to associate positively to newcomers in the market.

“It’s not just the largest fund companies that are rising to the top; advisors are associating positive brand attributes to newer players in the intermediary space,” Kowarski said.



iShares seen as most innovative, PIMCO most sophisticated, and Franklin Templeton most global

New York, (July 9, 2009) – The mutual fund companies with whom advisors associate the most positive brand attributes are American Funds, iShares, and Ivy Funds, according to results released today from kasina and Horsesmouth as part of their FA Vision service. The results are based on the industry’s largest ever survey of financial intermediaries of its kind: 3,129 responses gathered from April 2nd – 20th, 2009.

The firms with the highest Brand Association Score* in the FA Vision survey are:

1. American Funds

2. iShares/Barclays

3. Ivy Funds

4. PIMCO / Allianz Funds

5. Vanguard Group

6. Franklin Templeton Investments

7. BlackRock

8. Fidelity/Fidelity Advisors

9. JPMorgan Asset Management

10. Natixis Funds

Source: Horsesmouth and kasina: FA Vision

“While many of the traditional intermediary-distributed fund companies are viewed positively by advisors, we were glad to see that the hard work of some newer players is being recognized as well,” says Lee Kowarski, Principal at kasina. “American Funds has certainly established itself as a leader in several areas, including consistency, dedication to advisors, ease of doing business, and trustworthiness. Other firms were also well received, particularly in certain niches. iShares and Ivy Funds, for example, were viewed as exceptionally innovative, PIMCO as especially sophisticated, and Vanguard as the least expensive.”

FA Vision is a service from kasina and Horsesmouth that provides asset managers with unmatched access to financial intermediaries’ behaviors, preferences, and opinions. In this first FA Vision benchmarking survey, intermediaries evaluated 20 mutual fund companies on a variety of criteria, including products, wholesalers (external and internal), and brand attributes. For more information, visit www.kasina.com/favision.

*The FA Vision Brand Association Score is an average of evaluations of a firm’s brand by advisors who do business with that firm regarding each of the following attributes:

  • Consistent
  • Dedicated to Advisors
  • Easy to do Business With
  • Ethical
  • Global
  • Inexpensive
  • Innovative
  • Socially Conscious
  • Sophisticated
  • Trustworthy 

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