April 2016: People on the Move

Named RBC branch director of the year

B_POM_CyrilMouaikel_0416 WEBCyril Mouaikel, branch director for the Watertown office of RBC Wealth Management, was recently named Branch Director of the Year for RBC Wealth Management – U.S., CEO John Taft announced in a letter to clients. [Read more…]

Business of the Year award recipients honored by Watertown chamber

Krafft Cleaning services’ Lynn E. Krafft, left, and Justin Krafft receive the For Profit, Fifty or Fewer Employees Business of the Year Award Thursday from Kylie Peck, president of Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce at Savory Downtown. Photo by Justin Sorensen, Watertown Daily Times.

Krafft Cleaning Services’ Lynn E. Krafft, left, and Justin Krafft receive the For Profit, Fifty or Fewer Employees Business of the Year Award Thursday from Kylie Peck, president of Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce at Savory Downtown. Photo by Justin Sorensen, Watertown Daily Times.

With roots in the city that go back to 1915, RBC Wealth Management was among the 2015 Business of the Year award recipients honored Thursday by the Greater Watertown-North Country Chamber of Commerce. [Read more…]

Survey says: Back on top: J.D. Power ranks RBC Wealth Management No. 1 in satisfaction

Cyril Mouaikel, senior vice president and branch director for RBC Wealth Management’s Watertown office. Justin Sorensen/ NNY Business

Global investment house RBC Wealth Management, a firm with a Watertown branch, ranks highest in overall investor satisfaction, according to a 2013 study released last month by J.D. Power & Associates.

The study measures overall investor satisfaction in seven areas, in order of importance: investment advisor; investment performance; account information; account offerings; commissions and fees; website; and problem resolution. Overall investor satisfaction improved 14 points from 2012, to 789 on a 1,000-point scale, based on responses to the study from more than 4,750 investors who make some or all investment decisions with an investment advisor. RBC’s score is 820, while Fidelity Investment ranks second with a score of 810, and Edward Jones, which ranked the highest in 2012, ranks third with a score of 808.

The study also found that investors prefer a “collaborative relationship” with their investment firm and that communication is a key driver of investor satisfaction. Investors contacted 12 or more times a year gave their firms the highest ratings.

Cyril Mouaikel, senior vice president and branch director of RBC’s Watertown office, said that his firm’s service reflects the finding that excellent communication is essential. The branch has the unique characteristic that if a customer calls one person with a question or problem, that person is on the phone to fix it. RBC also does not use voicemail, for example, so messages from clients are returned on the same day when possible, or within 24 hours when not, Mr. Mouaikel said.

“Clients get information to the top right away,” Mr. Mouaikel said. “You can have excellent service, but if you’re not listening to customers, then what’s the point? Communication is key.”
Mr. Mouaikel added that RBC is “very proud” of J.D. Power’s recognition and that it is “great to see that our services our being appreciated.” RBC ranked eighth with a score of 770 in the 2012 study. It ranked first in 2011.

“We’re always at the top of the list,” Mr. Mouaikel said. “We got back to the position we were in.”

He added that while many other firms in the industry have cut staff and instated requirements on account minimums, his office has grown and created financial advisor “teams” to better serve customers.

“We enjoy client relationships of all size,” he said.

While some advisors are limiting practices to mutual funds and “pre-packaged annuities,” RBC still sees value in individual investments, “even if it requires more work and more attention,” Mr. Mouaikel said.

The study further found that while investor satisfaction and actual market performance have a high correlation, some firms have a lower satisfaction score than might be expected given market results. Two factors are responsible for the discrepancy between firms with high and low satisfaction: the person who investors credit with their investment performance and the relationship investors have with their advisor.

While communication is key, the type of communication matters as well, the study found. Firms should be aware that some investors want regular email updates, while some prefer a phone call or an in-person conversation, and others a combination of the three. Content of the communication also matters — investors want insights into stocks to watch and tips for savings, not just a check-in.

In addition to communication, the study found four characteristics that are key to investment performance satisfaction: Advisors who develop a financial plan that effectively incorporates risk and provide this plan in an easily understood form to investors; advisors who clearly communicate the reasons for investment performance and the firm’s fee structure; advisors who strive for an equal partnership with investors and make them feel involved in decisions; and advisors who define the appropriate level and method of contact that adequately addresses the needs of investors.

Going forward, RBC aims to keep improving, particularly with respect to listening to clients, Mr. Mouaikel said.

“Our service will decline if we don’t keep excelling so we can never sit on our laurels,” he said. “We welcome feedback and aim to continue anticipating the needs of customers.”

Leah Buletti is a staff writer for NNY magazines. Contact her at 661-2381 or lbuletti@wdt.net.