Banks may be on shaky ground, but 43% of Americans see them as a trusted source for retirement advice, according to a survey by Hearts & Wallets. This is an increase from 41% a year ago.

And some banks are blazing a trail in this area, with 48% of Bank of America’s customers relying on it as their primary source for retirement advice, up dramatically from 27% in 2010.

“This growth shows BoA’s efforts to put its retirement messaging in front of so many customers, at ATMs, in branches and on its website, is working,” said Chris Brown, a principal with Hearts & Wallets. “The bank’s relaunch of its retirement income calculator in Q410 was well done, positively reflecting recent changes in consumer attitudes to retirement.”

Other big gainers were Citibank, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, JPMorgan Chase, Merrill Lynch, Schwab, Edward Jones, Scottrade, UBS and ING Direct.

In terms of where customers invest the majority of their retirement assets, Fidelity retains its leadership position, with 8% of investors selecting Fidelity as their primary retirement investment source—but this is down from 11% in 2010.

“Fidelity has been very successful in its efforts over the past few years to court investors nearing retirement,” said Laura Varas, also a principal with Hearts & Wallets. “It may be that focusing on the mass market, which is the segment that tends to drive these national figures, doesn’t make as much sense for the firm as really performing well with older, affluent investors.”

In terms of designing products that work well together and holding multiple client accounts, USAA is the leader, this the average customer having more than 2.5 account types with USAA.

“Banks have attracted customer investment dollars because of their ability to be a one-stop resource, offering checking, mortgage and other products,” Brown said. “Banking institutions increased primary relationships with affluent and high-net-worth Accumulators, jumping from 20% to 30% in the past year, while self-service brokers and full-service firms decreased share over the same time period.”

-- This article first appeared on Money Management Executive.



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