The market surge of the late 1990s brought with it a rise in do-it-yourself investing. Investors flocked to alternative delivery channels, including online brokers. Encouraged perhaps by relentness stock market gains, investors felt little need for interpersonal contact when making portfolio decisions. But a funny thing happened on the way to the bear market — many formerly independent-minded investors decided they could use a little hand-holding.

The results of Forrester Research's survey of 7,899 North American households bear this out. The survey, entitled “Which Channels Financial Consumers Use,” shows a post-bubble reversal: Investors are now taking their business to the branch office, instead of using online facilities.