Cogent's Advisor Brandscape: 2010 report found the percentage of advisors using ETFs has risen from 46% in 2007 to 60% this year. The proportion of their book of business allocated to ETFs has increased from 5% to 8% during the past three years, although the latest figure is the same as last year's.

The report's findings are based on a Net Promoter Score, a standardized loyalty metric developed by Bain & Co. and commonly used in marketing research, says Meredith Lloyd Rice, Cogent's senior project director. Vanguard finished first in nine of ten areas of client experience and service, and its score of 33% was a ten-point gain over last year. iShares, a division of BlackRock, saw an eight-point drop.

That tied it with Spider/State Street. PIMCO was fourth, with a score of 12%. None of the other ETF providers Cogent rated had a positive score. The overall industry average was 2%.

"Advisors using Vanguard today are even more likely to use it as a primary provider," Rice says. "Vanguard is also doing a great job targeting advisors who tend to manage large books of business."

Consumers In Worse Shape ThIt would be nice to report some good news about the economy, but at least according to one organization that counsels folks on their finances, the news isn't getting any better.

The Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies (AICCCA) reports that its members have seen an increase in demand for their services of about 20% over the past 18 months. This year alone, demand is up 13%.

That said, the Fairfax, Va.-based organization says the ability of its members to help these people with debt management plans has actually decreased because a greater number of people coming to see them are in worse financial shape than before. In 2009, AICCCA members were able to help roughly 19% of people seeking their assistance. This year, that rate is projected to dip to about 12%.

AICCCA President Dave Jones cites several reasons. First, the housing market remains an issue because of foreclosures and people's difficulty in obtaining home equity loans. Second, unemployment remains stubbornly high. And, generally speaking, some people are waiting too long to seek help.

"If they wait too long, there's nothing we can do," Jones says. "If they get behind more than 120 days on their bills, their creditors don't want to talk to them."

Jones says one of the disturbing trends is the growing number of people willing to walk away from home mortgages and car loans.
"A lot of people don't care anymore and say 'Let people sue us, what are they going to get?'" Jones says. an Last Year

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