December 2015: Thought Leadership

The December Mutual Fund Monitor – Advisor evaluates how quality intellectual capital is generated and promoted on the firm’s advisor-facing website. For the purposes of this report, we highlight firms that clearly assign thought leaders within their branding strategies. Our analysis does not cover individual product commentaries or practice management advice, and we predominantly assess how firms package their intellectual capital, whether it is through clearly defined thought leader(s) or a group of contributors that share their insights on key focus areas. We describe methods firms use to highlight the opinions of identified thought leaders (e.g., branded commentaries, podcasts and syndicated reports). The following attributes of thought leadership are discussed in this report:

  • Organization and accessibility
  • Topics and timeliness
  • Content format

Our analysis finds that 58% of firms use techniques to promote individual experts by increasing their visibility through dedicated sections, branded series and homepage promotions. This allows return visitors to gain familiarity with the content and the specific thought leaders. The remaining 42% of firms do not highlight thought leaders.  Homepages are the most frequently seen page of a website and provide a view of the firm’s offerings. Additionally, homepages encourage viewers to explore the rest of the website. Seventy-three percent of asset managers promote individual thought leaders through homepage images while 15% of firms feature thought leaders on homepage videos. Our analysis finds that 26% of firms highlight thought leaders by centralizing insights on a dedicated page, creating a familiar place for returning advisors to retrieve information.

Of the 19 Mutual Fund Monitor-Advisors firms included in this report, we noted the following key findings:

  • 73% place thought leaders promotions on homepage
  • 15% feature thought leaders on homepage videos
  • 26% of firms give thought leaders dedicated pages
  • 73% allow advisors to setup email subscriptions to thought leadership
  • 100% offer video content
  • 21% offer audio content