The list of the most reliable financial brands is dominated by major banks, and startups are making progress with the support of young people

Toronto-Dominion Bank TD-T and Royal Bank of Canada RY-T are the most trusted financial brands in the country, but with complications.

Baby-boomers primarily voted for them in an informal poll of 1,124 people recently conducted by the Carrick on Money newsletter. Between Gens X, Y and Z, there is a greater openness to trust emerging brands in finance.

Investment firm Wealthsimple did particularly well with young adults, while online player EQ Bank beat all major banks in the support ratio between Millennials and Generation Z.

For banks and alternative investment firms, trying to make their way against the big banks is like running in the sand. But the survey results, while unscientific, suggest that alternative financing builds a foundation of trust. Budding players who can afford to play the long game may become dominant players.

Still unsure about dealing with financial firms outside the galaxy of major banks? Keep in mind that young people, who are more discerning about technology and applications, trust banks and investment startups. It’s time for the rest of the population to try it out, too.

TD topped the list with 200 votes, while RBC came in second with 190 votes. Three other large banks came next, followed by total support for microcredit unions. Then came EQ, Tangerine, Wealthsimple and a pair of big credit unions, Meridian in Ontario and Vancity in British Columbia. Thirty people answered “nothing” to a question about which financial company they trusted the most.

A total of 327 votes went to a variety of smaller companies, including online bank (and Imperial Bank of Canada branch) Simplii Financial, independent mutual fund firms Steadyhand and Mawer, investment firm Vanguard, investment trader Edward Jones, and online broker Questrade, Insurance giant Manulife Financial and American Express.

A few individuals got a shout out from the survey participants. They included Jon Heinzel, longtime dividend investment expert at The Globe and Mail, financial planners Natasha Knox, Rona Birnbaum and Shay Stacey and portfolio manager Larry Berman.

Boomers and seniors dominated the survey’s demographics with a share of 73 percent, Generation Xers accounting for 15 percent, Millennials (also known as Gen Y) and Generation Z at 10 percent and the small remainder made up of people who didn’t. Determine their ages. Even with a relatively small sample of young people, they are clearly more open about trusting non-bank brands.

For TD and RBC, overall confidence leaders with 82 and 79 percent of their most trusted votes came from boomers and older adults. By contrast, Wealthsimple found its way into the most trusted list thanks to a vote that skewed 84 percent straight to Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z. It garnered nearly half of the support of the younger generations.

Survey participants were invited to leave comments and many used the opportunity to express loyalty to a particular company:

“This will be my favorite bank for the rest of my life,” a 60-year-old man in Ontario said of BMO BMO-T.

“I will stay for life,” a BC resident said of Coast Capital Savings, a credit union in BC

“They put my interests above theirs,” one TD client in Ontario wrote.

“They care more about me than their earnings,” said one Alberta Wealthsimple client.

“You make me trust capitalism,” said a Sun Life Financial, Ontario client, SLF-T.

Sample dissenting opinion from a Manitoba resident: “I don’t trust any financial company enough to say.”

The big banks have a trusted franchise with all generations helping them fend off – and let’s be honest – kill competitors in banking and investment. But the level of trust that younger generations are showing towards companies like Wealthsimple and EQ Bank suggests that we are at an inflection point.

Bank competitor, there is hope. Bank customers, you have alternatives.

Are you a young Canadian and have money on your mind? To set yourself up for success and avoid costly mistakes, Listen to the award-winning Stress Test podcast.

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