July 2016 – Investor Education Resources

A healthy sense of financial literacy is integral to the long-term success of any investor. It is in the best interest of advisors to ensure that their clients are well-informed and confident when it comes to understanding benefits, limitations and best practices of investing. A key part of helping investors learn is the client education materials that advisors provide to them. This Mutual Fund Monitor – Advisor Report reviews client education resources offered by coverage group firms, evaluating their accessibility, the scope of topics they cover, and the presentation, quality and depth of their financial literacy materials. We exclude commentaries, as well as college or retirement issues, as we publish separate reports devoted specifically to those topics.

This report features summary findings for 17 of our coverage group firms, with AB, Lord Abbett and Federated being omitted for either offering no materials at all or for solely offering materials outside of the scope of what we considered client education. We find that some firms supply materials with strong educational value whereas others treat these resources merely as a way to highlight products. Firms that offer materials with high educational value that incorporate visuals such as graphs, videos or infographics were graded more favorably. The two best ways for advisors to retrieve client education resources are either by locating a dedicated center or searching through the literature center. We highlight how firms help advisors deliver client education materials through the use of direct email and printing options as well as the opportunity to create customized reports for individual clients.