Retail Financial Services Projects

Retail Financial Services Projects

We can help you understand investors and their advisors – how they think and how they decide what to buy.


Financial Life Stages of Older Canadians [IEF]

This research identifies the life stages of older Canadians including their top financial and retirement concerns. The study also looks at the best methods of reaching each segment. It also discusses the unmet advisory needs of Older Canadians and challenges current planning models. The study integrated findings from the literature with customized database analysis, qualitative interviews, and a survey based on preliminary findings.

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Strategy for Public Awareness [CDIC]

We have worked with CDIC for more than a decade developing budget-sensitive strategies for increasing public awareness of CDIC and specific awareness of its product coverage. This includes identification of target groups and strategy for better communicating with these target groups. Study methods included: Identification and synthesis of existing information including client surveys, government statistical sources, published research studies & articles and a few additional purchased studies.

Online Learning and Key Events: Age 20-34 Study [IEF]

These studies assess how 20-34 year olds learn in an online environment, especially how they learn what they need to know about handling key life events like a new job, getting married or becoming a parent. The studies assess the most critical questions people need answered when they are managing key life events, as well as the strategies and sources of information they use to get answers. The role of psychographics in shaping behaviour helps to understand what drives the strategies people use. Methods used include intercept personal interviews, online focus groups, and online surveys.

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Behavioral Segmentation of Investment Advisors [Mutual Fund]

Sophisticated analytical methods were used to identify the attitudes and behaviours that distinguish top investment advisors from their colleagues. The study was based on an amalgamation of several internal databases relating to thousands of advisors. Initial analysis was guided by suggestions from an executive brainstorming session and then advanced further as initial findings pointed to new directions. The study also identified the best methods for supporting top advisors, as well as information needed to identify “rising stars”.


Retirement Lifestyle Segments [IEF]

Using sophisticated analytical methods, we created a set of retirement lifestyle segments based on activity patterns of people age 60 and over, as reported in a Statistics Canada database. After extensive profiling of each segment, we created a quiz with a decision support tool that allows people to identify the segment that is most likely to fit their behaviour and attitudes.

Long-Term Issues Affecting Client-Advisor Relationships [CSI Research Foundation]

This is an assessment of the key long-term issues that affect the relationships between investment advisor, client, firm and regulator including suitability of advice, client communications, advisor qualifications and oversight. Using a combination of secondary research and interviews with business opinion leaders, we identify both the salient issues and the people/information most capable of dealing with the issues.

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Opportunities to Spur SME Investment in the Exempt Market [CSA]

The Exempt Market for securities is an investment market where businesses can be funded without a prospectus if they meet regulatory criteria. With the rise of crowdfunding and the need for capital in the SME market, this study looks at the strategies that can be used to spur retail investment in SME while still ensuring investors are adequately protected.

Impact of a Brand Campaign

Using awareness measures, we looked at the impact of successive advertising campaigns to raise awareness of an online retail financial brand in selected markets. Brand attributes were assessed, as well as competitive position.

Account Reporting Practices - Exempt Market [OSC]

The “Exempt Market” describes securities that can be sold to the public without a prospectus. These securities have very limited circulation and there is no public market for them. This series of studies looks at the reporting practices that Exempt Market investors need to ensure that the market is fair and transparent for them.

Investor Feedback on Strategic Priorities [OSC]

We conducted focus groups for the Investor Advisory Panel of the OSC to gather the views and opinions of retail investors in the GTA on investor rights and protection and to gather feedback on the initiatives drafted in the OSC Statement of Priorities for the fiscal year 2011-12.

Student Loans – Uptake and Payback [HRSDC]

This in-depth analysis looks at users of student loan programs compared to their cohort, as well as the factors that affect the progress of repayment of their loans. This is a longitudinal study relying on a mix of databases, which reflect the background and experience of millions of borrowers over the years, as well as the impact of changes in borrowing policy.


Review of Bankruptcy Trustee Activity and Compensation [CAIRP]

Beginning with a detailed database describing over 600,000 personal bankruptcies, we identified the changing nature and demands of personal bankruptcies in Canada since 1998. This was supplemented with two trustee surveys: one focusing on work activities and the other on changes in revenue and expenses. The implications of the findings for trustee work demands and compensation were identified.

Building the Financial Literacy Guide [IEF]

After a year of in-depth research with consumers and advisors, we completed an Event-based Learning Guide. The Learning Guide follows the decision-making path of consumers from a triggering event through the initial tough decisions to taking action. At each step of the way, we have recorded the questions that consumers want answered in their own words. The questions led to the creation of 94 learning modules, each with its own objective. This work has been translated into learning packages.

Finding Financial Information

People have a variety of different ways of finding information about money matters. The kinds of information people seek, their choice of methods, and their receptivity to information all have an impact on the best ways to communicate with them, especially at different ages. The findings from this work have strategic implications for media and public relations strategy.

Investor Risk, Behaviour & Beliefs [IEF]

The main objective of this survey is to identify behavioural and economic factors that affect risk-taking when investing. Built into this are three key research questions: How does the economic environment affect risk-taking; How do attitudes and beliefs affect risk-taking, and How do past actions (or inaction) affect risk-taking and investment choices.

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What Top Clients Don’t Tell Their Advisor [Mutual Fund]

Using methods akin to a therapeutic interview, a select group of top mutual fund clients were interviewed about their advisor relationships. The in-depth personal discussions identified what key investors wanted from their advisors but didn’t get, as well as identifying the ‘secrets’ they were reluctant to share with their advisors. The selection of clients for the interview was based on an extensive analysis of unitholders and their buying patterns.

Cost and Performance Disclosure [OSC]

On behalf of a major securities regulator, we investigated consumer understanding of disclosure information, as well as their preferences for getting information. Preferences include usefulness of information for decision-making, timeliness, convenience, and delivery methods.

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Avoiding Insurance [TD Insurance]

On behalf of a major bank-based insurer, we looked at reasons why people avoid taking out coverage they are likely to need. The study focused on issues previously identified in behavioral finance research and verified their applicability in the Canadian market.

Reliance on Home Equity for Retirement Income [HomEquity Bank]

This survey investigates the use of home equity as a source of income in retirement. It looks at several different means of using home equity and what drives their usage. The study also examines management of debt in retirement. With interviews confined to people age 50 and over, both prospective and actual retiree views are compared.

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Advisor Relationships [IEF, OSC]

This survey of some 2,000 investors looks at how advisory relationships are formed and maintained. How people get their advisor and what they expect of them are the main themes. At the product level, the study identifies products that people currently buy, as well as what people believe they can buy from their advisor. The study also identifies the kinds of advice that people expect from a financial advisor besides products. Attitudes towards advisors help frame the discussion.

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Investor Decision-Making [IEF, OSC]

This survey of some 2,000 investors identifies the sources of information that people use to make investment decisions when they work with advisors. Criteria for buying and rejecting investments (stocks and mutual funds) are profiled in depth. The role of compensation and its disclosure, especially for mutual funds, is a critical part of the findings. Trust in the advisor is critical for understanding the results.

Online Learning and Key Events: Age 35+ Study [IEF]

These studies assess how people age 35 and over learn about financial matters, especially those related to key life events. The studies assess the most critical questions people need answered when they are managing key life events, as well as the strategies and sources of information they use to get answers. The role of psychographics in shaping behaviour helps to understand what drives the strategies people use.

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Comparing Creative Territories for Advertising [CDIC]

This study compares five creative territories and aims to identify the territory or territories likely to get the best response from the general public. The study assesses why people are attracted to a particular creative territory and the benefits likely to derive from taking a specific position in advertising.