February 2018 – Private Site Homepages: Grading the Design and Content

As the first page clients see after login, private site homepages set the tone for the whole online experience. Firms should welcome clients with an intuitively designed page that includes pertinent account information, offers access to transactions and account servicing capabilities, and displays firm contact information. A well-designed homepage sets clients up to complete all tasks online, reducing the need to contact an advisor or the firm for assistance, but also offers access to that assistance for clients who need it. This report examines the homepages of the 19 Annuity Monitor firms.

Across the coverage group, firms are inconsistent in terms of the quality of homepages they offer clients. While the majority of firms retain the same homepages and grades as they had when we last reviewed the topic in 2016, some now get lower grades for providing what are now outdated interfaces. Other firms revamped their sites and formatted their homepages as portals, providing only a brief overview of account information on the homepage and a link to further detail. Many firms could improve their homepages by increasing promotion of other site pages or adding more account detail. Currently, 13 firms (68%) promote educational resources, 10 firms (52%) link to transactions and fewer (42%) provide contact information. However, all firms provide at least a basic level of annuity-specific account details on the homepage, ranging from Nationwide, which provides only the contract number, account value and the client’s first name, to TIAA, which provides detailed investment information, recent transactions and multiple rates of return.

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