December 2015: Transferring Funds Online

This Annuity Monitor Report analyzes transfer options as well as the transfer funds process itself, noting interface design and help features, available on the private websites of 14 Annuity Monitor firms. The report also covers reallocations and one-time rebalance transactions offered within the transfer funds interface as these are occasionally offered as transfer options. The following criteria are examined:

  • Transfer options’ accessibility and location
  • Transfer options
  • Fund transfer process
  • Help resources during fund transfer process

All of the firms analyzed in this report offer clients the ability to conduct partial and full transfers of their investment portfolios. Most firms (57%) also allow clients to make either partial or full transfers from multiple funds to one fund. All firms provide the option to transfer one source fund to another fund. When reviewing the types of transfer methods available among the firms, the report finds that all firms allow transfers in percentages, 71% in dollar amounts and 7% in unit values.

During the transfer process, all firms provide clients with their fund information, such as fund name and investment value, for reference. Ideally, investment information should be prominently available throughout the process to aid clients trying to determine their transfer amounts. Few firms go beyond basic fund details and provide clients with the ability to research funds. Currently, only 29% of firms provide access to fund profiles or fund reports directly from the transfer interface.

In terms of help resources offered during the transfer process, we find that 93% of firms offer detailed instructions, 50% feature progress meters and 43% provide links to help or frequently asked questions. Firms should provide detailed step-by-step instructions, a progress meter and centralized help to help clients stay aware of what is needed to complete the transaction and access help in case questions arise.

Additional key findings include:

  • 57% of firms highlight transfer limitations or restrictions during the process.
  • 71% of firms include the transaction posting time within the interface.
  • 50% provide an option to conduct a reallocation/rebalance within the transfer interface.