October 2013: Literature Ordering Centers

The October Mutual Fund MonitorAdvisor Monitor Report examines the literature ordering centers of the 17 firms in our coverage group. We examine everything from the accessibility of literature centers to the ordering process. Our analysis focuses on the following qualities:

  • Accessibility
  • Features
  • Literature Descriptions

Most firms provide literature centers that meet our expectations. Four firms exceeded the competition and received As. Ten firms received Bs, two were awarded Cs and one firm received an F.


Literature ordering centers are typically easy to locate. Seventy-one percent of sites offer direct access from the main menu. Two additional firms provide access from the static footer, while another firm offers access from a link in the static header. Those with main menu links typically provide flyout menus with access to specific literatures by type or product.


Many different features that help advisors browse content are provided, such as rotating banners and promotional displays. Other commonly available features include filters and sorting capabilities. Fifty-three percent of firms provide filters for paring down results, and 29% provide the ability to sort literature resources.


Descriptions of literature resources are generally clear and informative. Firms often include text summaries, intended audience, digital file format, publication date and thumbnail images. Fifty-six percent of sites include a synopsis of the content. A separate 56% of sites offer intended audience and publication date.


We find that the literature ordering process mirrors many e-retail sites, allowing advisors to add materials to a cart, confirm their mailing details and submit the order. Top firms offer a progress bar to display how many steps are in the order process, and 69% of firms provide a progress meter.


We uncover the following key findings in our analysis:

  • 71% provide main menu link to resources.
  • 88% allow navigation by account type or product.
  • 94% let advisors navigate by document type.
  • 59% include dynamic design elements to present information.
  • 82% include literature search.
  • 29% offer a predictive search for literature.
  • 53% allow filtering of resources.
  • 29% let advisors sort literature.
  • 56% provide descriptive summaries of content.