Group Five Releases Annual Client Ratings of Corporate Stock Plan Administration Service Providers

Corporate plan sponsors rate stock plan administrators and commercial systems - Fidelity, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and E*TRADE receive highest client satisfaction and loyalty scores

Sep 12, 2011, 09:00 ET from Group Five

PRINCETON, N.J., Sept. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Corporate services research company Group Five today announced the results of its annual study of corporate stock plan administrators and administration systems.

The study is the largest ever conducted in the stock plan industry with 780 plan sponsors participating — representing 2,158 stock plans including stock options, restricted stock, stock purchase, performance shares, and stock appreciation rights. The annual study, which includes the largest providers of stock plan administration services and commercial systems, is the only independent forum for corporate stock plan sponsors to make their opinions and priorities known to service providers.

For fully outsourced stock plan administration, Fidelity Investments received the highest plan sponsor satisfaction rating, with a score of 85% favorable. Bank of America Merrill Lynch received the second highest satisfaction rating with a score of 82% favorable, and E*TRADE ranked third among full-service stock plan administrators with a satisfaction rating of 79% favorable.

"Fidelity is dedicated to delivering the best plan sponsor and participant experience in the industry, and we are delighted that our clients have recognized our efforts and innovation," said Jon Skillman, president of Fidelity's Stock Plan Services business. "We have made significant investments in our platform to improve our reporting capabilities and our services to international participants. It is our goal to continue to provide exceptional service and groundbreaking technology to our customers."

This year, Bank of America Merrill Lynch once again had the highest percentage of "completely satisfied" clients for both fully and partially outsourced service. "We provide tremendous value and satisfaction to our clients through the expertise of our benefits professionals, dedication to service and ongoing investment in technology," said Steve Ulian, head of Institutional Retirement & Benefit Solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "Equity compensation plans play an integral role in the benefits programs we deliver, and we continually strive to offer the flexibility needed to meet the unique needs of each plan sponsor and participant."

E*TRADE received the highest overall satisfaction rating for partially outsourced plan administrators, as well as the highest loyalty ratings for fully and partially outsourced stock plan administration. For commercial systems used to do in-house stock plan administration, E*TRADE's Equity Edge system has the highest plan sponsor satisfaction with a rating of 82% favorable. E*TRADE has received the highest satisfaction ratings for their brokerage services and Equity Edge system for the last two years.

"E*TRADE Corporate Services is focused on delivering powerful end-to-end solutions that meet the needs of all corporate stock plan administrators," said Jim Wulforst, President, E*TRADE Corporate Services. "With more than 1,400 clients including 22 percent of the S&P 500, and more than 25 years experience, we're thrilled to be recognized by our clients for our efforts to maintain high satisfaction and loyalty among those we serve."

"This year we increased the number of survey respondents by 19%. We sincerely appreciate the time and support from plan sponsors in responding to the survey. Clearly, plan sponsors see value in the research and service providers rely on the study for measuring performance and for setting business priorities.  Group Five is committed to remaining the stock plan industry's source for trusted, accurate and objective satisfaction data," said Kathy Huston, managing partner, Group Five.

"The plan sponsors who respond to our study have a wide variety of plans of all types and sizes. The results we publish in our complimentary Summary Report are a compilation of all the responses," said Nicole Papadimos, research director, Group Five. "The summary report is available from the Group Five website at"

Group Five is a corporate services research firm located in Princeton, New Jersey. The firm is best known for its research expertise in stock plan administration and shareholder services.

No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of Group Five, Inc.

SOURCE Group Five