April 2015: Advisor Homepages

The April 2015 Advisor Monitor Report reviews the advisor homepages for each of the 19 firms in our coverage group. We review the overall page presentation, including responsive design, readability and organization. In terms of content, we focus on access to key resources for advisors, including client accounts, sales tools and commentaries. A total of five firms earn As, eight earn Bs and six are in the C-range. Specifically, this report looks at the following criteria:

  • Presentation
  • Content
  • Functions

Over the past three years, 13 firms in our coverage group revamped their advisor homepages. The changes were often part of a broader site revamp or a company rebranding. Last year, we saw the most activity in terms of homepage revamps, with nearly 40% of competitors updating their homepages. In this quarter alone (Q1 2015), two firms’ homepages underwent significant changes.

Over time, we have seen firms pare down their homepage content by condensing sections and limiting the amount of information presented on the page. Firms have also embraced modern design schemes that involve simple formats, bold visuals and clearly labeled content, all while retaining firms’ corporate branding. Firms are also incorporating responsive design into their sites, though currently only a quarter offer fully responsive homepages.

All advisor homepages provide commentaries to some extent, with the exception of one firm. Sixty-one percent of firms that post commentaries on homepages display them within a fixed section. Firms generally offer a list of recently published pieces, but firms are most effective when promoting content alongside a teaser or brief summary.

After commentaries, image carousels were a common feature on 80% of homepages. A total of 15 Mutual Fund Advisor firms provide an image carousel on their homepages to promote commentaries and site resources, and to post announcements. Nearly 40% of firms feature thought leaders; and 70% of firms use stock images that feature people as a way to connect products or service promotions.

All 10 firms that offer a fund search on the homepage include predictive capabilities. Among this set, 70% offer a search that begins displaying results after the first inputted letter. Compared to fund information and promotional content, advisor resources were given less visibility on the homepages. Only 26% of homepages feature a prominent link to access client accounts. Among this set, only one firm provides account information directly on the homepage and another provides a static task bar from which to access books of business and alerts.

We discovered the following key findings in our analysis:

  • Nearly 40% of firms display sales team information on advisor homepages.
  • One-third of firms provide a watch list on their advisor homepages.
  • Five firms display professional headshots of wholesaler representatives.
  • Four firms embed Twitter streams on their homepages.
  • All firms that offer a fund search on the homepage also provide a fund browsing section on the page.