January 2017 – Client Documents

As paper trails are generally available online for the full spectrum of financial services, clients rely on the ability to access a digital archive of firm communications. Annuity clients should be provided with easy access to documents dating back to their account inception. Of the 19 firms in our Annuity Monitor coverage group, 18 provide document archives on their private sites. This Annuity Monitor Report examines the extent of documents available as well as the organization and findability of those documents. We also analyzed accompanying features, such as the abilities to obtain help information like a sample statement or to upload documents to send the firm.

Firms vary in the documents they provide online. For 95% of the firms included in this report, we could access past annuity statements online. Other common online documents include confirmations (56%) and tax documents (45%). Only 17% of firms take online document storage a step further and allow clients to upload other documents to the private site. Firms organize their document archives differently, with some organizing documents into sections by type or even separate pages. Less than half (44%) of firms employ organizational facets such as filtering, sorting or searching documents. Most firms provide easy access to document archives from either the homepage or main navigation menu. Although Annuity Monitor firms generally succeed at providing client documents online, more firms could stand to add help resources such as frequently asked questions or sample statements that clarify the availability and use of documents. Currently, only 44% of firms provide help within their online document sections.