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Responsiveness And Transparency Key For Consumer-Focused Financial Services Companies, Investors Say

BOSTON, July 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Ninety percent of investors say that being able to resolve problems and answer questions quickly is a major part of their definition of a consumer-focused financial services company, according to the second quarter 2014 John Hancock Investor Sentiment Survey.

Yet when asked if financial services companies are truly consumer-focused, most survey respondents said only 38 percent of financial services companies fit that bill.  Investors also said that overall, about 49 percent of companies in general are consumer-focused.

"Consumers consistently express the desire for companies to focus on their needs, yet the perception is low that companies actually accomplish this. The disconnect is something that all companies concerned about the health of their businesses should monitor," said Oscar Gonzalez, John Hancock economist.

In the survey, nearly as many investors said that transparency in fees/costs (87 percent), and customer services representatives who are friendly and knowledgeable (84 percent), are very important in defining a financial services company as consumer-focused.  

Next in order of importance in defining consumer-focus are:  easy to read and accurate statements/bills and being able to reach a live person (each 81 percent), materials in plain language (76 percent), and a user-friendly website (70 percent).

When asked to rank major attributes of a consumer-focused financial services company, investors noted: offering creative solutions to problems (62 percent), the ability to do business online (58 percent), the ability to meet reps in person (49 percent), nearby physical locations (38 percent), and having help available 24/7 (44 percent).

The findings were drawn from the second quarter 2014 John Hancock Investor Sentiment Survey, a quarterly poll of affluent investors.  The survey measures investors' feelings about the current economic climate and their evaluations of what represents a good or bad investment given the current environment.  The poll also asks consumers about their confidence in reaching key financial goals and likelihood of purchasing financial products and services.

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