February 2014: Advisor Homepages

This Annuity Monitor Report assesses the advisor homepage – the welcome mat for financial advisors. The homepage serves as a valuable source for showcasing new features and upcoming site maintenance, and also provides advisors with a synopsis of their managed accounts. This month, we evaluate the advisor site homepages of 14 of our Annuity Monitor firms, focusing on the layout and design of the homepage as well as the content. In addition, we examine the advisor site’s navigation menu, specifically on its effectiveness when it comes to assisting advisors to a resource, tool, product or service.

A few of the key criteria analyzed are as follows:

  • Is the homepage visually appealing and engaging?
  • Does the navigation menu feature clearly labeled tabs and flyout capabilities?
  • Is annuity-focused product information and resources provided on the homepage?
  • Are client account notifications and confirmations provided directly on the homepage?

In our evaluation, the highest grade (A-) was given to one Annuity Monitor firm that offers advisors access to marketing materials, illustration systems and calculators in an organized and visually appealing homepage layout. Nine Annuity Monitor firms ranked in the B range as they offer resourceful content and navigational links leading to product pages, tools and services within their homepages, though could improve in a few key areas, such as their navigation menu structure. The remaining firms ranked on the lower end of the scale (C range) as they could improve significantly in various areas, such as the content, navigation or availability of advisor resources in the homepages.
 
In terms of navigation, we found that 71% of firms provide navigation menus with flyout capabilities that facilitate the navigation experience for advisors. When it comes to content provided on the homepage, we found that five firms provide client information, such as a list of client accounts, account notifications and account activities. Seven firms also provide a client account search capability that can help advisors locate a specific account.

Lastly, 71% of Annuity Monitor firms provide access to sales resources and tools within dedicated sections on the homepage. In particular, more than half of the firms post prominent links to their respective illustration systems on their homepage.
 
Additional key findings include:

  • 83% of firms include the advisor’s name on the homepage.
  • 29% of firms include wholesaler details on the homepage, such as name and contact information.
  • Nine firms display announcements about product updates or company news on the homepages.
  • Four firms feature a customizable quicklinks menu on the homepage.