Reflecting the turmoil in the financial services industry, most investors are more attuned to whether a company is viable than whether its offerings have strong performance, according to the 2009 Investor Brandscape report from Cogent Research.

“Today, perceptions of the financial stability of a mutual fund company and its breadth of offerings are now the primary driver of investor loyalty,” according to the report.

Antonio Ferreira, managing director of the wealth management group at Cogent, said, “Everyone understands investors want and expect to see strong investment performance. That’s a given. But in a broad market decline and in such uncertain times, investors are obviously looking for a safe harbor.They want assurance that companies they invest with today will still be there tomorrow.

Cogent also rates mutual fund companies by investors’ assessment of them, and found an 84-point spread, with Vanguard receiving the highest score, +21, and Calamos receiving the lowest score, -63. The average score is -29.

“It’s rather stunning to see that nine out of 10 fund companies have more customers at risk of defecting than remaining loyal,” Ferreira said. “In times like these, where positive investment performance is difficult, firms must provide or promote other offerings that address the existing mood of the market—thus, smaller or boutique firms with limited options will have a tough time maintaining loyalty due to lack of product or service breadth.”

The top performers are Vanguard, Fidelity Advisor Funds and Fidelity Investments, with scores of 21, seven and six, respectively—the only three firms to garner positive scores. The three bottom performers are Calamos, DWS Investments and MFS Investment Management, with scores of -63, -63 and -59, respectively.

Mutual Fund Company Investor Loyalty Rankings

Stars

1. Vanguard Group

2. Fidelity Advisor Funds

3. Fidelity Investments

Leaders

4. T. Rowe Price

5. American Funds

6. Franklin Templeton Funds

7. Schwab/Laudus Funds

8. Dodge & Cox Funds

9. RiverSource (formerly American Express Funds)

10. ING Funds

11. Morgan Stanley Investment Advisors Funds

12. JPMorgan Funds

13. Davis Funds

14. American Century Funds

15. Principal Financial

16. Wells Fargo Funds

17. Lord Abbett Funds

18. Janus Funds

19. Columbia Management Funds

Players

20. Evergreen Investments

21. Dreyfus Funds

22. Oakmark Funds

23. PIMCO Funds

24. OppenheimerFunds

25. AllianceBernstein Funds

26. John Hancock Funds

27. The Hartford

28. Van Kampen

29. Legg Mason Funds

30. Neuberger Berman

Drifters

31. BlackRock Funds

32. Goldman Sachs Funds

33. Eaton Vance Funds

34. Invesco Aim Funds

35. Putnam Investments

36. MFS Investment Management

37. DWS Investments (formerly DWS Scudder Funds)

38. Calamos Funds

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