The July Mutual Fund Monitor – Advisor Monitor examines advisor site registration processes and access for 18 firms in our coverage group. All 18 firms have content restrictions and require registration for full access. Firms frequently provide users with limited access to sites before they log in, allowing them to preview resources. We focused primarily on how firms present their sites to unregistered advisors, what resources are publicly available and the registration process itself. Our analysis focuses on the following criteria:
- How do firms preview and promote site content that requires registration to access?
- What resources are available before registration?
- What kind of registration process do these firms offer?
All firms restrict some content to advisors who haven’t registered with the firm. We did not assign grades in this month’s report because access to content involves issues of legal compliance and differences in asset management companies’ business models. Instead, we offer an industry snapshot of current realities and best practices with regards to site registration.
Since last examining site registration in late 2011, a trend towards increased pre-login site access has emerged. At that time, 53% of sites offered some site access to unregistered advisors, and that figure has risen to 78% today. Only four firms remain completely restricted to registered advisors.
Firms employ a variety of techniques to promote their sites that encourage advisors to register. Many sites use some form of icon to signal password-protected content; these icons frequently take the form of locks and keys. Currently, 28% of firms use similar icons to denote protected resources and indirectly promote registration.
Sites use a variety of methods for verifying an advisor’s ID upon registration. Several firms allow advisors to create a temporary user ID while they validate users’ personal information against their records. Others offer an immediate verification, checking names against the site’s database to readily identify potential registration errors and insure that only affiliated advisors gain access. Additionally, some firms include a predictive suggestion feature for affiliated advisor practices. Only one firm allows advisors to register with LinkedIn.
We uncovered the following key findings in our analysis:
- 78% offer some form of advisor site preview
- 28% provide summaries of locked content
- Only one firm allows advisors to register via LinkedIn
- 56% of firms include “Certification of Accuracy” checkbox in registration
- 44% employ icons to denote locked content
- 56% require a telephone number during registration