No One Trusts the Financial System


Who trusts the financial system? According to a new poll, fewer than one in four Americans.

The quarterly Chicago Booth/Kellogg School Financial Trust Index measures trust in the areas of banks, the stock market, mutual funds, and large corporations.

The survey showed that only 23% of those polled trust the country's financial systems, down from an equally dismal 25% in June.

Specifically, trust in banks has dropped from 39% in June to 33% in October. "Notably, people were much more inclined to trust local banks and credit unions: More than half of those surveyed said they still had faith in those institutions."

Distrust in the stock market (16%) and large corporations (16%) remained stable from June to September. However, when asked about the likelihood of the stock market dropping 30% in the next 12 months, 55% of respondents said it was likely, compared to 50% in June.

More findings: 60% of respondents were angry about the current financial system and economic climate. This is the highest level of anger measured since the earliest months of the financial crisis.

The findings reflect the sentiment reported in the news and "demonstrate the fragility of trust many Americans still have in the institutions where they invest their money," says Luigi Zingales, co-author of the Financial Trust Index.

The rising trend of mistrust might mean hits for online brokerage firms who largely rely on trading fees for profit. If distrust in the market is rising, it follows that trading activity will decline.

To track that idea we list below some of the firms with exposure to this trend. Do you think these names will feel the effects of national distrust? (Click here to access free, interactive tools to analyze these ideas)

1. TD AMERITRADE (NAS: AMTD) : Market cap of $9.05B. Provides securities brokerage services and technology-based financial services to retail investors, traders, and independent registered investment advisors in the United States. Share price as of Oct. 21 at $16. The stock has recently rebounded and is currently trading 5.02% above its SMA20 and 8.02% above its SMA50. However, the stock still trades 15.1% below its SMA200. The stock has had a good month, gaining 13.48%.

2. E*TRADE Financial (NAS: ETFC) : Market cap of $2.85B. Provides online brokerage and related products and services primarily to individual retail investors in the United States. Share price as of Oct. 21 at $10.01. This is a risky stock that is significantly more volatile than the overall market (beta = 2.11). The stock has lost 28.7% over the last year.

3. Interactive Brokers Group (NAS: IBKR) : Market cap of $666.69M. Operates as an automated global electronic market maker and broker. Share price as Oct. 21 at $14.63. Relatively low correlation to the market (beta = 0.76), which may be appealing to risk averse investors. The stock has lost 21.47% over the last year.

4. Piper Jaffray (NYS: PJC) : Market cap of $347.11M. Provides investment banking services, institutional sales, trading and research services, and asset management services worldwide. Share price as of Oct. 21 at $18.06. The stock is a short-squeeze candidate, with a short float at 5.04% (equivalent to 5.53 days of average volume). The stock is currently stuck in a downtrend, trading 5.1% below its SMA20, 12.69% below its SMA50, and 42.8% below its SMA200. It's been a rough couple of days for the stock, losing 9.47% over the last week.

5. Charles Schwab (NAS: SCHW) : Market cap of $14.83B. Provides securities brokerage, banking, and related financial services to individuals and institutional clients. Share price as of Oct. 21 at $12.26. Might be undervalued at current levels, with a PEG ratio at 0.9, and P/FCF ratio at 12.45. The stock has had a good month, gaining 11.15%.

Interactive chart: Press Play to compare changes in analyst ratings over the last two years for the stocks mentioned above. Analyst ratings sourced from Zacks Investment Research.

At the time thisarticle was published Kapitall's Rebecca Lipman does not own any of the shares mentioned above. Data from Finviz.The Motley Fool owns shares of Interactive Brokers Group. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Charles Schwab and Interactive Brokers Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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