With the majority of the brokerage firms in our e-Monitor coverage group (17 of 19) now on Twitter, we decided to take a closer look at how these firms are using their Twitter accounts. We found that many of the brokerages we examined are active on Twitter, tweeting and retweeting valuable information to users. However, there is still room for improvement, especially in the areas of response rates and account verification. The infographic below highlights key Twitter usage and behavioral trends among the 17 leading brokerages we examined (click for full screen image):
This article originally appeared in the ABA Banking Journal. Conventional wisdom states that it’s much easier to retain clients than attract new ones. With that in mind, it’s crucial for banks to understand what drives customer satisfaction, and what can cause unhappy clients to leave. Corporate Insight recently conducted an online survey of 1,000 bank customers to understand the relative importance of online and mobile banking features and the overall customer experience. Our Bank Customer Survey Report summarizes our key findings and highlights pertinent themes and trends found in the total survey sample. When we asked participants about the likelihood of moving their primary checking account, 10% reported that they would “probably” or “definitely” switch accounts in the near future.
Article: Client Communications – Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Effectively Transitions Clients to MSSB Online
Friday was the final day for Smith Barney clients to access SmithBarney.com as Morgan Stanley Smith Barney completed the transition of client accounts to MSSB Online. MSSB did an excellent job of educating Smith Barney clients about the transition, highlighting key dates and offering consistent, timely updates throughout the process. Let’s take a look at the different ways the firm communicated important information to Smith Barney clients during the transition:
Article: New Whitepaper - Advancing Financial Advice: Five New Online Models Challenging the Investment Industry
With a new wave of online investment advisories grabbing headlines, Corporate Insight is proud to offer our unique perspective on the business models and online platforms offered by five notable firms. Our latest whitepaper, Advancing Financial Advice: Five New Online Models Challenging the Investment Industry, will help investors, analysts and industry professionals understand what these new entrants offer and how that could impact the investment industry. The whitepaper features: Reviews of five online investment advisory firms: SigFig, FutureAdvisor, Personal Capital, Wealthfront and Betterment. Context and implications for the investment industry, including online trading firms and full-service advisors. Please download the full 19-page Advancing Financial Advice: Five New Online Models Challenging the Investment Industry whitepaper free of charge.
Last November, Ameriprise Financial incorporated LinkedIn’s professional network to its Find an Advisor search tool on the public site. In addition to being able to search for advisors by geographic location or by an advisor’s name, prospective clients may now login to their personal LinkedIn profiles and determine whether they share pre-existing connections with Ameriprise advisors. If so, Ameriprise provides contact information for the connected advisor. While many firms offer advisor search tools, Ameriprise is the only E-Monitor firm to offer LinkedIn integration.
Every Tuesday, Corporate Insight releases recommendations to help financial services firms improve a key aspect of the online user experience. Recommendations are taken directly from our Monitor Reports and Consulting Services research, which cover the banking, brokerage, credit card, asset management and insurance industries. This week’s recommendations come from our e-Monitor report titled Transaction History: An Online Trail of Account History and focus on ways brokerages can improve the online transaction histories they offer clients:
At this point, most mobile apps offer simplified versions of online capabilities, but mobile technology has the potential for much more. With a bit of creativity, financial services firms can identify needs that currently go unmet and develop new tools for their customers. One such example is TD Ameritrade’s new Snapstock tool. How Snapstock Works Snapstock is a bar code scanning tool – to our knowledge, the first of its kind in the brokerage industry – available through the firm’s TD Ameritrade Mobile app for iPhone and Android. While out shopping, clients can scan a product’s bar code with their phone’s camera to view a quote for the company or add the company’s symbol to a watch list.
Every Tuesday, Corporate Insight releases recommendations to help financial services firms improve a key aspect of the online user experience. Recommendations are taken directly from our Monitor Reports and Consulting Services research, which cover the banking, brokerage, credit card, asset management and insurance industries. This week’s recommendations come from our Broker Monitor report titled Trade Confirmation Review: Providing Key Data for Clients' Records and focus on ways firms can improve their paper trade confirmations:
Every Tuesday, Corporate Insight releases recommendations to help financial services firms improve a key aspect of the online user experience. Recommendations are taken directly from our Monitor Reports and Consulting Services research, which cover the banking, brokerage, credit card, asset management and insurance industries. This week’s recommendations come from our e-Monitor report titled Rich Media: Engaging Investors With Sight & Sound and focus on ways firms can use rich media to enhance the user experience on their websites:
RBC recently announced the launch of a new interactive online annual report. The new digital format allows current and potential investors to comb through the extensive information offered in the annual report in a more convenient manner. Key new report features include:
Zecco recently rolled out a new online Trading Center which will be available to all clients by the end of December. The new platform is easy to navigate and provides clients with a deep selection of information. Navigation The new trading center contains an efficient, centralized design. It differs from many competitors in that information is presented on a single screen. Key data such as balance information, order status, transaction history and positions are prominently displayed and easy to access as the design significantly reduces navigation across the Trading Center.
This article first appeared in the Consulting Insights Fall Issue. Zecco first entered the self-directed brokerage industry in 2006, making a play for investors with a value proposition resting on two pillars. One was low costs — the name “Zecco” stands for “zero commission costs.” The other was social media, specifically the ZeccoShare community. While most clients no longer enjoy free trades, Zecco still allows clients to share their trading activity and performance and discuss the markets and investing through forums and blogs.
Every Tuesday, Corporate Insight will release recommendations to help financial services firms improve a key aspect of the online user experience. Recommendations are taken directly from our comprehensive Monitor Reports and Consulting Services Research, which cover the banking, brokerage, credit card, asset management and insurance industries. This week’s recommendations come from our e-Monitor team and focus on ways brokerage firms can improve their news resources:
Article: No Tricks this Halloween: Financial Service Firms Treat Clients to New Features, Products and Revamped Websites
In October, financial service firms introduced new bill pay options, providing clients with additional conveniences. A number of firms also chose to unveil new sites, primarily public, offering users more efficient navigation and streamlining access to important pages. Firms also continued to add or enhance products, making product lineups more competitive. Let’s Pay Some Bills TD Ameritrade’s brokerage site introduced a free online bill pay system, allowing clients to set up recurring or one-time payments, organize payees, access up to one year of bill pay records and receive email alerts. Similarly, Fifth Third and KeyBank unveiled new online bill payment, Metavante (FIS) interfaces, both of which simplify the process of executing a bill-payment related task. Additionally, Wells Fargo’s banking site updated its bill pay system, allows users to more easily add a payee by consolidating steps.
On November 1st, E*TRADE Financial sent an email to clients with futures accounts regarding their partnership with MF Global. E*TRADE futures account holders were informed that like all other MF Global customers, they are limited to Liquidations Only closing transactions.
E*TRADE Financial introduced a variety of new options tools, including a Strategy Optimizer, Options Analyzer, Probability Calculator and Options Screener. The addition of new tools as well as a dedicated options research section marks a significant change from the firm’s previous options research offerings, which were only available within active trading platforms.
As we reported in September, brokerage customers that access their accounts from a mobile device also tend to place a higher volume of trades per year. According to our recent survey report, high volume traders are typically older and have more liquid household assets. However, mobile users contradict this trend, being younger, higher salaried and more in tune with their brokerage firms on social media.
Charles Schwab officially closed its acquisition of optionsXpress and announced the deal with promotional banners throughout the public site. optionsXpress also promoted the acquisition on its public site. In a new video, Charles Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger indicates that clients can gain access to the advanced features offered by optionsXpress including three- and four-legged options trading, spread trading in IRA accounts, portfolio margin accounts with lower balance and maintenance requirements and futures trading.
Since the announcement of a merger between Charles Schwab and optionsXpress several months ago, the firms have surprisingly not revealed any information about the future of each online brokerage platform. However, recent developments in the foreign trading area at each firm unveiled key new trading options. Early last month, optionsXpress launched its web-based Forex Trading platform, allowing clients to trade 21 different currency pairs.