Corporate Insight’s e-Monitor service recently released its annual awards report recognizing excellence in site offerings across the brokerage industry. In this report, we look back at 2017, analyzing the state of the brokerage industry’s best digital resources and features by benchmarking our 18-firm coverage group across all major aspects of brokerage client websites.
Financial planning tools and calculators are of particular importance in this year’s report. Such tools can help investors evaluate their portfolios, plan for future goals and get basic answers to questions about their personal finances, such as “Will I have enough money for retirement?” or “Should I rent or buy a home?” They can also help educate consumers and allow firms to market appropriate products to them. Investors increasingly view planning tools and calculators as “important” or “very important,” as found in our 2017 Investor Survey. With that in mind, our report assesses the full scope of investment and financial planning tools, asset and portfolio analyzers and financial calculators offered by firms in our coverage group.
Here, we outline the four award-winning firms in the Planning Tools category:
Fidelity earns the top spot, offering in-depth portfolio analysis, which is then tied into investment recommendations to help clients achieve their goals. The firm also allows users to set up multiple goals and factor in accounts held elsewhere when evaluating their preparedness for, or progress toward, a financial goal. In addition to its outstanding goal planning tools and asset and portfolio analysis tools, Fidelity offers a wide selection of calculators to assist clients with financial planning that cover topics such as retirement, Social Security investing, taxes and college education planning.
Fidelity Social Security Benefits Calculator
Vanguard stands out for its impressive Portfolio Watch tool, which allows clients to perform routine check-ups to compare their current portfolio against different target allocations as well as other industry benchmarks. The tool includes an asset allocation analysis, stock analysis, bond analysis and summary of costs, taxes and risks. It incorporates the user’s entire portfolio into the comparison, including outside accounts added through the site’s account aggregator.
Vanguard Portfolio Watch Tool
Charles Schwab clients can gain a detailed analysis of their portfolios through the firm’s Portfolio Check-Up tool, which employs benchmark and caution symbols to notify clients of where their portfolio is at risk. The tool helpfully provides a model allocation that includes specific fund recommendations. Further, the Personalized Portfolio Builder, launched this past May, provides a more comprehensive and personal result that more closely aligns with the client’s risk tolerance.
Charles Schwab Personalized Portfolio Builder
Merrill Edge offers a useful Asset Allocator tool that allows clients to compare their internal and external accounts to a model portfolio based on their risk tolerance. It helpfully displays the dollar and percentage change necessary per asset class to ensure it fits the model. The Portfolio X-Ray tool also enables clients to review and perform in-depth analysis on their investment portfolios. What’s more, the firm provides a number of financial calculators that offer retirement, investing, college planning and personal finance recommendations as well as two notable planning tools: Retirement Evaluator and College Planning Tool.
Merrill Edge Asset Allocator
The e-Monitor Awards Report analyzes brokerage client websites across five additional categories: Account Information and Performance Reporting, Core Product Range, Equity Research and Quotes, Alerts and Mobile Brokerage Experience. Access the full report through our client portal, or visit our website to learn more. For a free slide deck highlighting the gold medal winners in all six categories, click here.