The Financial Services Trust Index: A Pilot Study. Christine T Ennew. Financial Services Research Forum. University of Nottingham

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1 The Financial Services Trust Index: A Pilot Study Christine T Ennew Harjit Sekhon Financial Services Research Forum University of Nottingham

2 The Financial Services Trust Index: A Pilot Study Executive Summary Main Findings Trust plays a central role in the way in which financial services institutions present themselves to their customers. However, there is growing concern about the extent to which they are perceived as trustworthy and the extent to which consumers trust them. Trust and trustworthiness may exist on two levels. Low level trust or trustworthiness relates to the extent to which an organisation can be relied on to do what it says it will do. Higher level trust or trustworthiness relates to the extent to which the organisation is concerned about the interests of its customers. Organisational trustworthiness, which is defined as the extent to which consumers perceive that an FSI (financial services institution) is worthy of their trust is determined by communications, shared values, integrity, ability/expertise and benevolence. A questionnaire was developed to measure these constructs and implemented in January/February Approximately 1000 subjects were interviewed and each respondent was asked (where possible) questions relating to 2 organisational contexts. There were approximately 250 responses for each of 7 organisational contexts. Overall consumer trust has a value of approximately 75 suggesting that on average, respondents are moderately trusting of FSIs. Low level trust is significantly better than higher level trust as might be expected. Respondents are more convinced about the reliability and dependability of FSIs and less convinced about the extent to which FSIs have their interests at heart. Brokers/advisers receive the highest ratings on trust and trustworthiness, followed by Building Societies. Investment companies, credit card providers and life insurance companies receive the lowest ratings. The ratings for brokers who are independent are marginally higher than for brokers who are tied. FSIs receive high ratings in relation to ability/expertise and are weakest in relation to shared values. A regression analysis to explore the relative impact of the five drivers of trustworthiness, suggests that integrity, benevolence, shared values, ability/expertise and communications all have an impact on trustworthiness. The two drivers with the greatest impact are integrity and benevolence. The two weakest influences are ability/expertise and communications.

3 For banks, investment companies and credit card companies, duration of relationship appears to have no impact on trust but for building societies, general household insurers, life insurers and brokers/advisers, longer relationships are associated with higher levels of trust. The number of product holdings and mode of interaction (branch/phone/internet) appear to have relatively little influence on trustworthiness and trust. Female respondents display higher levels of trust than male respondents. The Future of the Trust Index Research While the methodology used in the pilot study is robust, there are a number of issues that need to be considered relating to the future development of this stream of research. a) Frequency of research? Should there be annual or bi-annual surveys? Bi-annual might attract more general interest and give a better chance of reflecting specific changes in circumstance but this will need to be considered relative to the lost of opportunities for other research. b) Sample size Is 250 per context large enough? The number of respondents in a given context is perfectly adequate for high level analysis but if there is a desire to disaggregate individual contexts into sub groups (by age, life stage, mosaic classification), then sample size may be more problematic. The aggregate sample can be broken down in this way without major difficulties. c) Sample composition are any observed types of under representation a cause for concern? d) The need for comparators. Future surveys could add in questions about other key institutions (BBC, NHS, major supermarkets, major retailers). e) Variations in trust across consumers based on natural optimism/pessimism these potential variations are accommodated by making the distinction between trust and trustworthiness. f) Qualitative research into the drivers of trust. Bespoke Options for Members There are a number of ways in which the Trust Index research may be developed and tailored to the needs of individual members not as a substitute for their own research but rather as a complement. a) Where sample size permits, data could be analysed by named institutions. b) Individual member institutions could be provided with a break down of their own respondents vis-a-vis a benchmark for all similar institution types.

4 c) A similar service could be offer to smaller institutions who might collect their own data which we could analyse and benchmark against the main FSRF sample. d) An overall index could be calculated weighted by product importance (excluding brokers) and presented as the headline figure.

5 The Financial Services Trust Index: A Pilot Study Background Few would disagree with the proposition that trust plays a central role in the way in which financial services institutions present themselves to their customers. Intangibility, product complexity, and the long term nature of many products mean that customers face high levels of risk when making purchase decisions; they often lack specialist knowledge and may have difficulty in judging product performance. As a consequence, consumers need to trust financial services institutions (FSIs) to offer products of an appropriate type and quality. However, there is growing concern about the extent to which FSIs are trustworthy and the extent to which consumers trust them. A recent examination of Trust by Edelman Associates 1 notes that, in general, consumers report far higher levels of trust in NGOs than in business and that while an organisation such as the World Wildlife Fund receives a trust rating of 62%, the best performing financial institution receives a rating of only 30%. As a sector, financial services in Europe, receives a trust rating of 38% with insurance receiving a rating of only 30%. In a specifically UK context, there is increasing concern about declining levels of consumer trust in financial services; perceived industry malpractice (eg mis-selling of pensions, endowments) and the impact of recent stock market difficulties are thought to have had a significant negative impact on consumer trust and confidence. A framework for understanding the nature and determinants of trust and trustworthiness was developed following the FSRF position paper on Trust in Briefly, this framework proposed that organisational trustworthiness is the prime determinant of consumer trust in financial services institutions. Organisational trustworthiness, which is defined as the extent to which consumers perceive that an FSI is worthy of their trust is determined by communications, shared values, integrity, ability/expertise and benevolence. It was proposed that trust and trustworthiness may exist on two levels. Low level trust/trustworthiness (transactional trust/cognitive trust) relates to the extent to which an organisation can be relied on to do what it says it will do. Higher level trust/trustworthiness (relational trust/affective trust) relates to the extent to which the organisation is concerned about the interests of its exchange partners (customers). A questionnaire was developed to measure these constructs and implemented in January/February Approximately 1000 subjects were interviewed and each respondent was asked (where possible) questions relating to 2 organisational contexts (bank, building society, 1 Based on interviews with 400 opinion leaders in the US and 450 in Europe.

6 general household insurer, life insurer, investment company, broker/advisor and credit card company. This resulted in approximately 250 responses for each of the 7 organisational contexts. This report details the findings from that analysis. Brief details of the survey itself and respondent numbers are contained in Appendix 1. Other things being equal, the accuracy of survey findings depends upon sample size with larger samples being associated with much higher degrees of accuracy. A survey of approximately 1000 respondents is consistent with the sample sizes used in many opinion polls, although reducing the sample to 250 for each institution type does increase the margin for error and is probably at the lower end of the acceptability range. Definitions The following list provides brief definitions of the key constructs measured in the survey and discussed in the subsequent analysis. Trust Trustworthiness Benevolence Integrity Ability/Expertise Shared values Consumers trust in a financial services institution. This is an attribute of consumers and is not something that an FSI can directly manage. Trust may vary across consumers because of different experiences and personality traits even where perceptions of trustworthiness are similar. The extent to which an FSI is perceived as being worthy of trust. This is an attribute of the FSI; it is central to the image and reputation of the institution and is something that can be managed by both internal policy and practice and through external communications. The extent to which an FSI is concerned about its customer s interests from a customer perspective. The extent to which an FSI is honest and consistent in what it does from a customer perspective. The extent to which an FSI is seen as having the necessary skills and ability to deliver its services from a customer perspective. The extent to which consumers believe that an FSI has values similar to their own. Communications The extent to which an FSI communicates well/effectively from a customer perspective.

7 Characteristics of Respondents Names were sampled randomly from established sampling frames but refusals and screening to ensure quotas were met for each context means that the realised sample is not necessarily representative of the UK population. However, it should be broadly representative of the customer bases of the different organisational types that were evaluated. Key features of the sample were as follows: 51% female, 49% male 54.5% married 98.5% white 29% aged 65 and over The gender balance is in line with that of the national population as is the proportion of married respondents. The proportion of respondents who are white is rather higher than the national figure of approximately 90%. There is a noticeable skew towards older age groups (29% of the sample compared with 20% for the UK population, excluding under 15s). There is an under representation in younger age groups, although given the nature of some of the product contexts, this is perhaps unsurprising. In terms of lifestage, there is something of a skew towards respondents with their own homes and children who have left home, as would be expected given the age profile. Full details of the socio-demographic profile of respondents is contained in Appendix 2. Trust and Trustworthiness Table 1 provides summary information on the overall measures of trust and trustworthiness. In contrast to many trust measures which rely on a simply yes/no comparison, the approach adopted here measures degree of trust. The trust/trustworthiness measures were constructed by averaging across responses to a series of statements (list in Appendix 1) and then scaled so that the maximum possible score is 100 and the minimum is 0. To interpret these figures, a score of 100 would mean that all respondents strongly agreed with every statement on trust. A score of 75 would indicate that on average respondents moderately agreed with the statements on trust and a score of 50 would indicate that respondents neither agreed nor disagreed with the various statements. Thus, in looking at Table 1, overall consumer trust is close to the figure of 75 suggesting that on average, respondents are moderately trusting of FSIs. Base level trust is significantly better than higher level trust as might be expected that is to say, respondents are more convinced about the reliability/dependability of FSIs and less convinced about the extent to which FSIs have their interests at heart. Respondents are positive about the trustworthiness of FSIs but that level of trustworthiness is reflected in a lower level of actual trust by consumers. The advantage of looking specifically at trustworthiness and treating it as distinct from trust is that

8 the former relates to how individuals perceive FSIs while the latter incorporates effects of individual dispositions The standard deviation measures the degree of variability in perceptions and the figures suggest that there is rather more variability in ratings on higher level trust when compared to base level trust. Table 1: FSRF Sample: Overall Measures of Trust Std Deviation Minimum Maximum Base Higher Trustwort Overall trust level trust level trust hiness Table 2 contains information on the ratings of the drivers of trust and the figures should be interpreted in the same was as the figures of aggregate measures. FSIs do best in relation to ability/expertise and are weakest in relation to shared values. Table 2 FSRF Sample: Components of Trust Std Deviation Minimum Maximum Ability/exp Shared Communi Benevolence ertise Integrity values cations In table 3 trust and trustworthiness are analysed by institution type. Brokers/advisers receive the highest ratings on trust and trustworthiness, followed by Building Societies. Investment companies, credit card providers and life insurance companies receive the lowest ratings. The ratings for banks and General Household Insurers place them firmly in the middle of the range higher than investment companies, credit card companies and life insurers, but lower than Building Societies and Brokers. The ratings for brokers who are independent are marginally higher than for brokers who are tied.

9 Table 3 Overall Measures of Trust by Institution Type () Bank Building Soc GHI Life Ins Investment Co Broker/Adviser Credit Card Co Base Higher Trustwort Overall trust level trust level trust hiness Variability in scores can be measured using a coefficient of variation () which describes the level of variation in consumer responses relative to the mean and is measured as a percentage. As Table 4 shows the ratings of Building Societies show the lowest degree of variability across all institution types. Credit card companies have a very high level of variability in relation to higher level trust while Life Insurance companies have the highest level of variability in base level trust. Table 4 Overall Measures of Trust by Institution Type (Variability) Bank Building Soc GHI Life Ins Investment Co Broker/Adviser Credit Card Co Base Higher Trustwort Overall trust level trust level trust hiness The individual components of trust by institution context are shown in Table 5. In general, for most institution types, ability/expertise and integrity are areas of strength while shared values is clearly an area of weakness as, to a lesser extent is benevolence.

10 Table 5 Components of Trust by Institution Type () Bank Building Soc GHI Life Ins Investment Co Broker/Adviser Credit Card Co Ability/exp Shared Communi Benevolence ertise Integrity values cations Variability in the drivers of trustworthiness is shown in table 6 and again highlights the greater consistency in ratings of building societies. Shared values stands out as the dimension that is characterised by the highest degree of variability in scores, and is particularly high for credit card companies. Table 6 Components of Trust by Institution Type (Variability) Bank Building Soc GHI Life Ins Investment Co Broker/Adviser Credit Card Co Ability/exp Shared Communi Benevolence ertise Integrity values cations A regression analysis to explore the relative impact of the five drivers of trustworthiness, suggests that integrity, benevolence, shared values, ability/expertise and communications all have an impact on trustworthiness. The two drivers with the greatest impact are integrity and benevolence. The two weakest influences are ability/expertise and communications. There is some evidence to suggest that age affects assessments of trustworthiness through its impacts on these individual drivers and older consumers tend to have slightly more positive views of trustworthiness, although the differences across age groups are not major. The picture with respect to duration of relationship with FSI is more mixed. In the case of banks, investment companies and credit card companies, duration of relationship appears to have no impact on trust but for building societies, general household insurers, life insurers and brokers/advisers, longer relationships are associated with higher levels of trust.

11 Interestingly, the number of product holdings and mode of interaction (branch/phone/internet) appear to have relatively little influence on trustworthiness and trust. Female respondents display higher levels of trust than male respondents. The Future of the Trust Index Research While the methodology used in the pilot study is robust, there are a number of issues that need to be considered relating to the future development of this stream of research. a) Frequency of research? Should there be annual or bi annual surveys? Bi-annual might attract more general interest and give a better chance of reflecting specific changes in circumstance but this will need to be considered relative to the lost of opportunities for other research. b) Sample size Is 250 per context large enough? The number of respondents in a given context is perfectly adequate for high level analysis but if there is a desire to disaggregate individual contexts into sub groups (by age, life stage, mosaic classification), then sample size may be more problematic. The aggregate sample can be broken down in this way without major difficulties. c) Sample composition are any observed types of under representation a cause for concern? d) The need for comparators. Future surveys could add in questions about other key institutions (BBC, NHS, major supermarkets, major retailers). Each respondent could be asked about a maximum of 2 other organisations without causing major problems to the data collection process. This would allow us to obtain approximately 250 responses on each of 7 different non-financial services institutions. e) Variations in Trust across consumers based on natural optimism/pessimism these potential variations are accommodated by making the distinction between trust and trustworthiness. f) Qualitative work on the drivers of trust. Bespoke Options for Members There are a number of ways in which the Trust Index research may be developed and tailored to the needs of individual members not as a substitute for their own research but rather as a complement. a) Where sample size permits, data could be analysed by named institutions as the example below shows. This could be available to all members on a confidential basis only, or included in the main report. In either case, all members would have to agree to their ratings being seen by other members.

12 Overall Measures of Trust by Institution Type () Bank A Bank B Bank C Bank D Bank E Ins A Ins B Others Base Higher Trustwort Overall trust level trust level trust hiness b) Individual member institutions could be provided with a break down of their own respondents vis-a-vis a benchmark for all similar institution types Overall Measures of Trust by Institution Type () Bank A Others Base Higher Trustwort Overall trust level trust level trust hiness c) A similar service could be offer to smaller institutions who might collect their own data which we could analyse and benchmark against the main FSRF sample. d) An overall index could be calculated weighted by product importance (probably excluding brokers) and presented as the headline figure. Cost implications for these options would depend on exactly what was requested but are likely to minimal and relate primarily to costs associated with collection of additional data.

13 Appendix 1: Survey Format Key features Telephone based survey, conducted by an independent market research agency. All respondents were asked where possible about 2 institution/product contexts, specifically main bank, building society, general insurance provider, life insurance company, broker/adviser, investment company and credit card provider. In total 1787 institutional ratings were collected, distributed as shown in table A1 Context Number of responses Bank 264 Building Society 259 General Household Insurer 265 Life Insurance Company 255 Investment Company 251 Broker/adviser 240 Credit card company 253 Additional data captured included product holdings with named company, method of interaction and duration of relationship. Standard demographic data was also collected. Respondents were asked to provide ratings of trust, with questions relating to both cognitive (low level) trust and affective (high level) trust. Trustworthiness was measured in the same way. The questions used are shown in Table A1. In addition, a range of statements was sued to measure the constructs that were considered to be the antecedents (drivers) of trustworthiness. Specific constructs measured were integrity, ability/expertise, shared values, communication and benevolence. The statements used are illustrated in Table A2. Table A1: Measures of Trust and Trustworthiness My main BANK.. Strongly Disagree Neutral Strongly Agree I trust my bank to do what it says it will do I trust my bank to have my best interests at heart My bank is very reliable My bank is always honest with me My bank is concerned about my best interests Overall I feel I can trust my bank My bank makes every effort to address my needs My bank has a reputation for being reliable My bank has a reputation for being honest My bank has a reputation for being dependable

14 My bank has a reputation for looking after its customers My bank has a reputation for having its customers interests at heart Overall I feel my bank is trustworthy Table A2: Measures of the Drivers of Trustworthiness My main BANK.. Strongly Disagree Neutral Strongly Agree Does whatever it takes to make me happy Keeps its word Acts in the best interests of its customers Shows high integrity Is honest Conducts transactions fairly Has the information it needs to conduct its business Is consistent in what it does Can be relied upon to give honest advice Shows respect for the customer Treats customers fairly Has the same concerns as me Is receptive to my needs Competently handles all my requests Is efficient Communicates clearly Is responsive when contacted Informs me immediately of any problems Has the same values as me Informs me immediately of new developments Acts as I would Is knowledgeable Communicates regularly

15 Appendix 2: Demographic Tables These tables are based on the unit of analysis being the institution context. As most respondents dealt with more than one context, the aggregate figures in this table are almost double the number of respondents. Gender Valid Male Female Not asked Cumulative Frequency Percent Valid Percent Percent Age group Valid Missing 16 to 19 years 20 to 24 years 25 to 29 years 30 to 34 years 35 to 39 years 40 to 44 years 45 to 49 years 50 to 54 years 55 to 59 years 60 to 64 years 65 years or older Refused Not asked Cumulative Frequency Percent Valid Percent Percent

16 Lifestage Living with parents Own home, no children Own home, pre school children Own home, school age children Own home, post school children Own home, children left home Living in childs home Cumulative Frequency Percent Valid Percent Percent Valid Married Single Divorced Separated Widowed Cohabiting Refused Not asked Marital status Cumulative Frequency Percent Valid Percent Percent Ethnicity Valid Missing White Black - Caribbean Black - Other Indian Pakistani Any other ethnic group Refused Not asked Cumulative Frequency Percent Valid Percent Percent

17 Mosaic UK Group Name Valid A Symbols of Success B Happy Families C Suburban Comfort D Ties of Community E Urban Intelligence F Welfare Borderline G Municipal Dependency H Blue Collar Enterprise I Twilight Subsistence J Grey Perspectives K Rural Isolation No Mosaic Code Available U Unclassified Cumulative Frequency Percent Valid Percent Percent

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