Around the Industry: Pioneer Investment Management

by on Aug 21, 2013

Founded in 1928, Pioneer Investment Management one of the oldest mutual fund providers in the United States, and one of the first Americanpioneer-investments_svg firms to invest overseas. Pioneer’s flagship product, the Pioneer Fund, is an early example of socially responsible investing as the fund avoids companies that sell tobacco or alcohol as their main products. Today the firm is a subsidiary of Italy’s UniCredit Group and manages $211 billion around the world. The firm offers websites for individual and institutional investors as well as financial advisors. Here, we review the Pioneer Investment Management public Investor site.

Homepage
Pioneer’s Investor homepage is conventional but effective, sporting a clean and direct design that empowers the user to find whatever site content they may need. The body of homepage focuses on four distinct columns of information. From left to right, the first column offers a link for investor login and account access and provides a number of quick links to commonly used site content, such as the site’s tax center or recent newsletters. The second column presents the firm’s most recent commentaries, the third lists new notices and press releases and the final column contains smaller promotional images and a series of “Classic Concepts” documents, such as The Power of Buying Low. The homepage’s main strength is that it makes no attempt to overcomplicate its presentation; everything is well organized and in plain view. In keeping with this approach, the page features a single fixed banner image that contains three rotating headlines, whereas most other firms include multiple rotating images with one headline each.

 

Pioneer Investment Management Homepage
Pioneer Investment Management Homepage
Fund Profiles
Pioneer’s fund profiles include many common elements, dividing content across five tabs for Overview, Performance and Risk, Holds, Distributions and Literature. They are informative and include helpful items such as hypothetical growth charts and return tables but, visually, the fund profiles are relatively bland.

 

 

Pioneer Fund Profile
Pioneer Fund Profile
Commentaries
Pioneer’s regular commentaries are presented in an unlabeled list, which is disappointing. Considering that Pioneer’s site is one of the few that lacks a viable search functionality, a higher degree of commentary organization would really enhance the user experience. The best asset management websites allow users to search and filter commentaries, and the absence of that feature places Pioneer’s Insights tab well behind the industry curve.

Closing Thoughts
Pioneer’s utilitarian approach to its website succeeds in some areas and falls short in others. The homepage is particularly strong thanks to its visual restraint, order and easy access it provides to key site content. The fund profiles are just average and the site’s commentary presentation and organization is weak. Further, the lack of a search functionality is particularly troubling, hurting overall site navigation and usability. Like many other sites, Pioneer’s public website is strongest at the front end and becomes gradually less so as the user ventures further from the homepage.