The leading mutual fund brand in the nation is Vanguard and the leading distributor is Charles Schwab, 4,000 affluent and high-net-worth investors told Cogent Research in a recent survey. In both categories, Fidelity, which had previously held first place since Cogent started the research in 2006, was knocked to second.

The change reflects changing investor perceptions, loyalty and household penetration, Cogent said. Market dynamics appear to be contributing to Fidelity’s challenges, particularly a decline in the number of wealthy investors using 401(k) plans, Cogent said. In fact, for the first time ever, affluent investors have more dollars allocated to IRAs than to employer-sponsored retirement plans.

“It would appear,” said Meredith Lloyd Rice, an author of the report, “that Fidelity is caught in a perfect storm of an aging population, higher unemployment and lower across-the-board plan participation.”

Vanguard has improved its relationship with investors over the past year as a mutual fund provider, Cogent said, and Fidelity has seen a decline in loyalty. Investors rated Vanguard higher for its financial stability, range of products and fund performance. “It’s worth noting, however, that Fidelity remains a powerhouse and is probably better positioned than most other firms to make any necessary course corrections in the coming months,” Rice said.

Commenting on the survey, Fidelity spokeswoman Teri K. Ginsberg said, "Millions of Americans and thousands of clients have placed their faith and trust in Fidelity for decades because we are a stable and strong firm, and we have a breadth of products and services that is second to none. We continue to be the nation's No. 1 provider of 401(k) plans and IRAs ." 


Top 10 Mutual Fund Company CoRe Score(TM) Rankings

  1. 1.Vanguard
  2. 2.Fidelity Investments
  3. 3.American Funds
  4. 4.T. Rowe Price
  5. 5.TIAA-CREF
  6. 6.Franklin Templeton
  7. 7.Fidelity Advisor Funds
  8. 8.Oakmark
  9. 9.Morgan Stanley Investment Advisor Funds
  10. 10.Schwab/Laudus Funds


Top 10 Distributor Firm CoRe Score(TM) Rankings

  1. 1.Charles Schwab
  2. 2.Fidelity Investments
  3. 3.Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
  4. 4.Edward Jones
  5. 5.Merrill Lynch
  6. 6.Raymond James
  7. 7.UBS
  8. 8.Vanguard
  9. 9.Wells FargoAdvisors/Wachovia Securities
  10. 10.Ameriprise

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