SAN ANSELMO, Calif., Oct. 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Equity plan sponsors' overall satisfaction and loyalty ratings for their fully-outsourced service providers reached all-time highs in the Group Five 2017 Stock Plan Administration Benchmarking Study, which was released today. Ratings improved or held steady in all areas measured in the study, including brokerage services, commercial recordkeeping systems, and accounting and financial reporting.
Survey results show that, in general, service providers are achieving higher overall satisfaction, though improving long-term client loyalty will require continued focus on plan sponsor support and improving technology platforms.
"This is the first year the study showed significant increases in loyalty for every stock plan administration service model," said Kathy Huston, Director of Research at Group Five. "The primary objective of the Group Five study is to improve service in the industry, and the results from this year show that the Group Five study enables service providers to use the research results to focus on issues most important to plan sponsors."
Now in its 19th year, the annual study continues to grow with 1,771 individuals representing 1,374 public companies, giving this study the highest participation rate among all equity compensation industry research. The study is the only independent forum for plan sponsors to confidentially make their opinions and priorities known to service providers.
Full Outsourced Services
Fidelity Investments, for the seventh year in a row, has the highest overall plan sponsor satisfaction for full administration services with a 95 percent favorable rating and a Net Promoter Score* (NPS) of 70. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has the second-highest overall satisfaction rating at 94 percent favorable and an NPS of 59.
"Providing the industry's best client experience is a top priority here at Fidelity, so having our clients rate us highest in both Net Promoter Score and overall plan sponsor satisfaction is quite an honor," said Mark Haggerty, head of Fidelity's Stock Plan Services. "We understand that our plan sponsors face an evolving set of challenges, and as equity compensation plans continue to play a bigger role in the corporate benefits space we plan to provide the products and support our clients need to meet their business needs."
Lorna Sabbia, Head of Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, said, "We're proud to once again be recognized by our clients as a top equity compensation services provider – receiving top marks for overall satisfaction, loyalty, innovation, and other factors that help improve the effectiveness of clients' plans and the financial lives of their employees. This year's results reflect our commitment to client service and ongoing enhancements to our industry-leading capabilities."
Partial Outsourced – Brokerage services
E*TRADE has the highest overall satisfaction for partial outsourced brokerage services at 92 percent favorable and an NPS of 49. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has the highest Net Promoter Score at 74 with an overall satisfaction rating of 91 percent favorable.
Partial Outsourced – Commercial Systems
E*TRADE's Equity Edge Online continues to lead the industry in commercial systems used for in-house stock plan administration for the sixth year in a row. Equity Edge Online has the highest overall satisfaction at 92 percent favorable and the highest NPS at 58.
"We are thrilled and grateful to be highest rated in partial outsourced brokerage services and commercial systems—the latter of which marks our sixth year in a row—as it demonstrates we keep our eye squarely on delivering for our clients," said Scott Whatley, President at E*TRADE Financial Corporate Services, Inc. "Our focus is simple: To deliver a powerful digital offering that is comprehensive yet intuitive, supported by an incredible service delivery team. At E*TRADE, we understand deeply that equity compensation can be an inherently complicated benefit, but that it can also drive significant engagement in employees of all stripes, and so we work tirelessly to arm our clients with the forward-thinking technology and support they need to do just that."
Accounting and Financial Reporting Services
Accounting and financial reporting services are becoming more critical to equity compensation administration. Equity Methods, once again, received the highest overall satisfaction rating with a score of 100 percent favorable and an NPS of 93. This is the third year in a row that Equity Methods received a 100% satisfaction rating. Morgan Stanley and UBS follow with 97 percent favorable, and an NPS of 69 and 74, respectively.
"We thrive on making clients' lives easier by creating high-impact solutions for the trickiest cases, so being honored with the top client loyalty and overall satisfaction scores for the fourth year in a row is especially gratifying," said Takis Makridis, President and CEO of Equity Methods. "Complex equity programs generate unique demands in multiple areas, including financial reporting, planning and forecasting, tax optimization, ESPPs, and the proxy. We're grateful for our clients' trust and excited to be tackling their challenges head-on as the equity landscape evolves."
Founded in 1990, Group Five LLC is a corporate services research and consulting firm. Group Five, a leader in business-to-business loyalty and satisfaction research and consulting, and is best known for research in incentive compensation plan administration and shareholder services.
* NPS®, Net Promoter® & Net Promoter® Score are a registered trademark of Fred Reichheld, Satmetrix, and Bain & Company. Net Promoter Scores range from -100 to +100 based upon the difference between the percent of promoter and detractor scores.
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