SAN ANSELMO, Calif., Sept. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- GROUP FIVE, a leader in business to business satisfaction research and consulting, today announced the results of its 17th annual study on plan sponsor satisfaction with stock plan administration services, brokerage services, administration systems, and accounting and financial reporting services.
With 1,019 public companies participating, the study has the highest participation of public companies among all studies in the stock plan industry. The study is the only independent forum for plan sponsors to make their opinions and priorities known to service providers.
"This is our seventeenth annual study and each year more and more companies find value in the information, with 1,194 individuals responding to the survey," said Kathy Huston, CEO of Group Five. "Plan sponsors tell us that our study is an invaluable resource for decision making and provides insights that are not available anywhere else. And, most service providers use our study results to focus on service areas important to plan sponsors."
The key industry issues identified by the study participants continue to be: tax compliance, plan participant education, accounting & financial reporting, plan participant communications, managing award metrics, and cost-basis.
Full Outsourced Administration
Fidelity Investments, for the fifth year in a row, has the highest overall plan sponsor satisfaction for full administration services with a 96% favorable rating. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has the second highest rating at 93% favorable.
"Having our clients rate us #1 in overall plan sponsor satisfaction for the fifth year in a row and having Fidelity score the highest rating in the history of the Group Five study underscores our commitment and intense focus on service," said Kevin Barry, executive vice president of Fidelity's Stock Plan Services. "As our clients continue to evolve their company stock plans to meet the increasingly complex needs of their workforce, Fidelity's technology, service and support will provide them with an unmatched experience."
"We are thrilled to have been the only provider to be rated above 90 percent in overall satisfaction for full and partial administration services and financial reporting as measured in the Group Five study and would like to thank our clients for their business and partnership," said Rick Irace, Head of Client Relationship Management and Communications Consulting at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. "Our team has a keen focus on providing our clients with best in class service from account support to reporting flexibility and fee transparency on an industry leading administrative platform. This recognition is evidence of what happens when you put your client's interests first."
Partial Outsourced Administration – Brokerage services
UBS has the highest overall satisfaction for partial outsourced - brokerage services at 94% favorable. Bank of America Merrill Lynch and E*TRADE follow at 92% and 91% favorable, respectively.
Michael Barry, Head of UBS Equity Plan Advisory Services commented, "We are grateful for our clients' engagement and participation in the survey. This year's results highlight our commitment to providing a differentiated participant experience. As the market continues to evolve, participants will seek out more effective ways to maximize the value of their equity awards. We believe our continued focus on delivering advice and education through the right blend of technology and one-on-one services will prove critical for meeting that need."
Partial Outsourced Administration – Commercial Administration Systems
E*TRADE's continues to lead the industry for commercial systems used for in-house stock plan administration. Once again E*TRADE has the highest overall satisfaction for commercial administration systems with its Equity Edge Online system rated at 92% favorable.
"Achieving these distinctions four years running demonstrates our unwavering commitment to empower plan administrators - and the employees they serve - to get the most out of their equity compensation plans," said Paul Hutchison, President of E*TRADE Corporate Services. "We are thrilled to continue to work closely with our clients to drive appreciation for their plans, and ultimately create a more productive and happy workforce."
Accounting & Financial Reporting Services
Plan sponsors identified accounting & financial reporting as a major issue confronting them. In this year's study Equity Methods, once again, received the highest overall satisfaction rating with every responding client rating them favorably for a score of 100% favorable. Fidelity and Bank of America Merrill Lynch follow with 95% and 92% favorable, respectively.
"We're thrilled that our clients rated us with the highest loyalty and overall satisfaction scores again this year," said Takis Makridis, CEO of Equity Methods. "We have the privilege of working with outstanding companies who maintain some of the world's most complex equity programs. Increasingly, they expect stock-based compensation reporting to transcend compliance by providing insight across external reporting, planning and forecasting, tax optimization, and the proxy. Creating impact for clients is why we exist, so there's nothing more gratifying than receiving this overwhelming level of positive feedback."
The summary report of the study's findings is available from the Group Five website at http://stockplanresults.groupfiveinc.com.
Group Five, LLC is a corporate services research and consulting firm that was founded in 1990. Group Five is best known for its research in incentive compensation plan administration and shareholder services. Group Five's mission is to provide market research information to companies to facilitate the management of business-to-business services. We are the preeminent source of independent and unbiased industry knowledge enabling US public companies to make informed business decisions.
No advertising or other promotional use can be made of the information in this release without the express prior written consent of Group Five.
SOURCE GROUP FIVE