In a survey of 757 investors between the ages of 35 and 64 with investable assets of at least $100,000, Phoenix Marketing International found that more than half say their financial situation is worse than a year ago and two-thirds don’t expect it to get any better for at least one year.

As to how they are gauging the health of the economy, 33% rely on market averages and 25% on the unemployment rate.

As a result of their caution, they are banking with more establishments to obtain maximum FDIC insurance, investing more money in certificates of deposit, turning to mutual funds rather than stocks and consulting with a financial adviser.

Among the best-known brands, the highest rated are Charles Schwab, Fidelity, State Farm, T. Rowe Price and Vanguard. Asked to name leaders of retirement products and services, investors cited John Hancock, MetLife, Northwestern Mutual and New York Life.

What appears to be most important to affluent investors is that the firm is one that they can trust, that conducts business with the highest ethical standards, that can weather the economic crisis and that cares about their customers, said Kristina Terzieva, product manager for the study.

The investors were also asked to give their opinion on 15 print and 19 television commercials created by 12 leading brands: AXA, Fidelity, Guardian, John Hancock, Lincoln Financial, MassMutual Financial Group, MetLife, New York Life, Pacific Life, Principal Financial, Prudential and The Hartford.

The print ad the investors liked the most was from MassMutual, while the highest rated TV spot was from Fidelity.

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