Answer: J.D. Power and Associates

J.D. Power and Associates, best known for telling us what consumers think about products, from cars to cell phones, is now extending its reach and research know-how to determine advisor satisfaction levels with their employers.

J.D. Power and Associates Reports:
Firm Performance and Organizational Support Are Primary Concerns For Financial Advisors in Volatile Marketplace

It's a great time to see a report such as this. Why? Advisors, especially independent or independent-minded advisors, are "go-betweens" placed in the middle of a financial institution and an individual client. They are financial shock absorbers of a sort, working to align the capabilities of the financial markets (in this case, the road, unyielding and without emotion) and the client (the car hoping for the smoothest possible ride on the way to its destination).

Understanding satisfaction levels between advisors and their firms gives us an inside look at how these firms are doing in helping the individual clients reach their goals. I know many advisors and all of them want their clients to succeed. If the advisor is satisfied with their firm, it's a good clue that their clients are satisfied, too. Or, at least, given the markets these days, they are as satisfied as they can be with the institutions they rely on to implement their financial plans.

Advisors care about other things besides just making their clients happy. They care about having their job made easy and they care about making money. On any given day, there can be healthy competition between these three aspects of their job, but, all things being equal, it's better to hire a happy advisor than an unhappy one. Especially now, when we have once again been reminded that no one, not even Warren Buffet, knows what's going to happen in the markets in the short term. All you can rely on in times like these are that the firms you are connected with have integrity, communicate well and do their level best to do what they promise to do.

An advisor's satisfaction with their firms, now measured by J.D. Power, is a useful clue in determining whether or not these institutions can live up to these expectations.