ING Survey: Consumers Say Financial Services Should Be Easier

January 12, 2006 Atlanta Share: Print Subscribe to Email Alerts

Frustrated by the complexity of financial planning, most consumers would switch their accounts to a financial services company that makes managing their money easier, according to a national consumer survey released today.

The ING Financial Planning and Investing Study – a survey of more than 1,000 American consumers conducted by Roper GfK – shows that consumers wish financial services firms were easier to deal with. The majority -- 73 percent -- said they would switch to a financial services firm with a reputation for making the financial planning process easier.

The ING survey found:

  • Almost half of consumers say retirement planning is harder than raising a child (43 percent vs. 38 percent).
  • Nearly four out of 10 (37 percent) consumers say it is difficult to understand most financial services information.
  • Consumers say they spend more time researching their new car purchases (42 percent), new job opportunities (41 percent), doctors (33 percent), or a school or daycare center (28 percent) than they do researching a financial advisor (23 percent).
  • A third of consumers say friends, relatives and co-workers are their most reliable sources for financial information.

“This research clearly shows that consumers are frustrated by the complexity of the financial planning process, and they are seeking partnerships with financial services firms that will make it easier for them,” said Thomas J. McInerney, Chief Executive Officer of ING U.S. Financial Services. “ING is committed to making the financial planning process easier for the millions of Americans who find planning for retirement and other long-term financial objectives one of the biggest challenges of their lives.”

While it is well documented that many Americans are inadequately prepared for their retirement years, the ING survey found that one of the greatest barriers to preparation is the complexity of financial services.

In addition, as part of the ING Financial Planning and Investing, consumers were asked what makes a financial services experience “easy.” The respondents most highly valued seven factors:

  • How knowledgeable their representatives are: 79 percent
  • Ability to provide information in straightforward language they understand: 76 percent
  • Responsiveness to their needs: 76 percent
  • Quality of customer service: 74 percent
  • Whether they offer products that clearly address my needs: 74 percent
  • How clear their advisors are about all the costs, penalties and restrictions: 73 percent
  • Their advisors’ understanding of my needs and financial goals: 71 percent

“ING is devoted to earning and maintaining a reputation for making it easier for people to manage their finances. We are focused on our customers and helping them make saving, investing and protecting their money easier. We are making changes in everything we do and in all aspects of the organization to make this happen,” McInerney said.

Commissioned by ING and conducted by Roper GfK in November 2005, the ING Financial Planning and Investing Study included 1,004 U.S. consumers from age 35 to 64 with annual household incomes of at least $60,000. The survey measured consumers’ attitudes and perceptions about investing, saving, financial planning, retirement planning and their relationships with their financial professionals. The margin of error for the overall sample is +/-3.1%.

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ING is a global financial institution of Dutch origin offering banking, insurance and asset management to over 60 million private, corporate and institutional clients in 50 countries. With a diverse workforce of over 113,000 people, ING comprises a broad spectrum of prominent companies that increasingly serve their clients under the ING brand.
In the U.S., ING offers a comprehensive array of financial services to retail and institutional clients that includes retirement plans, mutual funds, managed accounts, alternative investments, direct banking, institutional investment management, annuities, life insurance, employee benefits, financial planning, and reinsurance. Currently, ING holds top-tier rankings in key U.S. markets and serves more than 14 million customers across the nation. For more information, visit