The July 2013 Mutual Fund Monitor Report discusses how firms market global and international funds to retail investors. For the purposes of this analysis, we consider global and international funds as one topic. We analyzed how these funds are marketed according to the following criteria:
- Do the firms provide strong educational resources explaining international topics to investors?
- How are global and international funds promoted throughout the site?
- Are these funds presented in a clear and easy to read manner?
- Do the firms provide thought leadership or commentaries on investing topics?
Our study found that the quality of international and global fund promotions is uneven, reflecting different business models across the coverage group. We awarded four As, three Bs, five Cs, four Ds and one site received an F.
Fewer than half of the sites we covered (47%) provide strong educational resources explaining international topics to investors, such as an educational center or page focused on explaining international investing concepts. The majority of firms tend to focus on the use of global and international funds to diversify a portfolio. Risk is also a frequent topic for discussion on educational pages, with 53% offering risk explanations.
Many of the sites host strong thought leadership on investing topics. All firms offer some form of global commentary resource, but only a quarter include dedicated pages for globally oriented articles. Additionally, only a handful of firms (12%) provide internationally focused blogs, and a separate 12% offer globally-oriented microsites. These microsites help to promote funds and facilitate access to fund manager insights.
Global and international funds are promoted in a variety of ways, and 47% of sites offer a dedicated product page for these investments. Product pages frequently include lists of relevant funds and access to pre-filtered fund finder tools. Fund finders often allow investors to filter by international or global criteria, and 71% of firms with this tool allow investors to narrow results down to view international or global funds.
The report includes the following key findings:
- 47% of fund firms offer a devoted educational center/page
- 53% discuss the risks of investing abroad
- 53% promote global investing on the homepage
- 47% have a dedicated global/international products page
- 71% allow investors to filter product data for international or global products
- 12% offer a global-investment-oriented microsite
- 24% provide a devoted international commentary section