How The 2021 Most Trusted Financial Companies Survey Was Conducted

The Most Trusted Financial Companies survey is a collaboration between Investor’s Business Daily and TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence. The survey assesses and ranks financial companies based on consumer trust. The current research is the second year of the study.


The areas of trust covered are a company’s commitment to protecting the privacy and security of personal data, quality of products and services, ethical business practices and values, fair prices/fees for products/services, and customer service and treatment.

The study includes eight business categories: auto insurance, banks, credit card issuers, home insurance, online brokers, wealth management, life insurance, and mutual fund and ETF companies.

Two Phases Of Trust Research

TechnoMetrica conducted the study in two phases, collecting data through an online survey methodology.

The goal of Phase 1 of the Most Trusted Financial Companies was to identify the characteristics of financial institutions that are most important to consumers in terms of “trust.” In Phase 2, using the attributes identified in Phase 1, respondents evaluated companies they most often utilize in each of the eight business lines.

In Phase 1, we started with 11 trust attributes developed by IBD editors and TechnoMetrica. Using the MaxDiff research technique, we presented respondents with six randomly selected combinations of five trust attributes. We asked them to choose the most important and the least important attributes in each group.

A total of 343 visitors to IBD’s website participated in the Phase 1 survey in June and July 2021.

Based on the results, we narrowed down the final list to five attributes for evaluation in Phase 2. Phase 1 also gave us the weights of each attribute to calculate the overall Trust Index in Phase 2.

Defining Trust Based On Five Attributes

Commitment to protecting personal data privacy and security received the highest weight in our study, topping our list of the most critical trust factors for a financial company. Quality of products and services came in second. The third factor is the company’s ethical business practices and values, followed by fair prices/fees for products and services. The fifth factor is the company’s treatment of customers.

Using the five trust attributes arrived at in Phase 1, respondents evaluated the company they most often utilize in each of the eight business lines in Phase 2.

Consumers evaluated each attribute of a company using a five-point scale (Very High, High, Moderate, Low, Very Low) for the question: “How would you rate your level of trust with the company on the following company attributes?”

The Phase 2 survey took place between July 9 and Aug. 11, 2021, and had 6,578 respondents. Of those, 2,618 came from the IBD website or email invitations and 3,960 came from TechnoMetrica’s network of panel partners.

Except for the wealth management and mutual fund/ETF categories, where we required at least 100 respondents, we needed at least 125 respondents to rate a company for it to be included in our ranking.

Trust Score Calculation

Seventy-four companies met our minimum inclusion criterion.

For each company, we calculated five trust components based on the responses to the Phase 2 survey.

We computed the component scores by taking the difference between the percentage of respondents assigning a very high or high rating and the percentage who gave a low or very low rating. For example, if 40% rated a company’s quality of products/services as Very High, 20% High, 9% Low, and 5% Very Low, we calculated the trust component for quality (60% less 14%) as 46%.

We combined the five component scores using the weights from Phase 1 to calculate each company’s overall Trust Index rating.

Generally speaking, online brokers and ETF/mutual fund companies are the most trusted by consumers, while banks and life insurance companies are the least trusted. Credit card issuers, home insurance, auto insurance and wealth management companies tend to perform in the middle.

Raghavan Mayur is president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence.


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