Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The stockbroker of the year survey is conducted by Intellidex, a specialist financial research house.

This is the eighth year we have assessed SA’s retail stockbrokers. This year 21 firms participated, with 6,117 of their clients completing our online People’s Choice survey.

The structure and nature of the survey has been informed by our experience, built up over past years, as well as feedback from the stockbroking community and stockbroking clients. Overall, we aim to blend quantitative client feedback with data provided by the firms and Intellidex analysts’ judgment where necessary.

The awards recognise firms in two main categories: Top Online Broker and Top Advice-Based Broker. These two awards are complemented by an overall award, Top Overall Broker.

There is also an award based on client feedback, the People’s Choice award, and we recognise the top brokers in contracts for difference (CFDs), a type of derivative, as well as tax-free savings accounts.

We provide assessments of which firms cater best for specific client segments. Furthermore, we specify which firms excel in different categories, such as value for money and the range of instruments available. Each of these has different calculation methodologies, which we explain below.

The research has three legs. First, a comprehensive questionnaire is sent to stockbrokers, asking for details of their products, pricing and market positioning. Second, a mystery shopping and desktop research exercise is undertaken by Intellidex analysts to verify information provided and assess transparency and responsiveness. Finally, a major online survey of retail stockbroking clients is done. Clients rank their brokers on numerous aspects. These scores determine the important People’s Choice Award and feed into some of the other scoring categories.

The Top Advice-Based Broker and Online Broker scores reflect a combination of Intellidex’s views and client feedback. The Intellidex view gets a weighting of 80% and client feedback contributes 20%, but the Intellidex view is informed by both firm and client feedback. For the Top Advice-Based Broker, the client input consists of ratings for advice on investment decisions and shareholder voting; buy/sell recommendations and research on instruments, and quality of service for telephone-based trading.

For the Top Online Broker, client input includes service with IT queries, help with understanding the trading platform, ease of use of the online trading platform and access to data.

The Top Overall Broker award is informed both by client input and by an Intellidex assessment. The assessment takes into account cost of trading, a mystery shopping exercise (which looks at the responsiveness and transparency of a broker), available instruments and trading tools, and client support and education tools. The client input is a consolidation of the client input used for the Online and Advice-Based broker category. Then we provide an assessment of brokers that are suitable for different client types.

The People’s Choice award is based on client feedback on two metrics: their overall rating of their broker, and their reported likelihood of recommending their broker to friends or family. The top tax-free savings account provider is determined from client feedback.

The top CFD provider is also determined from a mix of client feedback and an Intellidex assessment of the trading costs and credit riskiness of the provider. Client opinion on CFD research is considered.

The methodology will continue to evolve as we receive further feedback.

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