December 2016 Trends & Highlights: New Tools, Site Updates and Schwab Intelligent Advisory Robo-Advisor

by on Jan 06, 2017


  • Newly Launched Private Site Tools Cover Budgeting, Retirement, Brokerage and More  In December, we saw the addition of 12 new private site tools for spending, saving, budgeting, credit health, retirement planning and online brokerage management. Bank of America added a Spending & Budgeting tool for customers to view spending history and set a monthly budget. The tool graphs spending by category up to one year in the past and offers analysis of spending based on income and transactions. American Express introduced two tools on the private site Statement and Activities center, one allowing card holders to Store and Manage Receipts online and the other providing Insights by outlining predicted recurring charges, the last six months of statement balances and the largest card transactions from the past 60 days. BB&T and PNC Bank are the two most recent firms to provide free credit scores and score information on their private sites. Haven Life launched an Advisor Dashboard where advisors can track clients’ applications within an attractive interface featuring detailed measurements of client engagement and tables to track commissions and payouts. Three brokerage management tools were added by Charles Schwab, Fidelity and optionsXpress. The Gain/Loss Analyzer from Charles Schwab allows clients to review gain/loss performance of their stock and ETF trades through interactive charts and graphs. Fidelity’s three-step Estate Planner tool helps clients gather and organize information, and a new beta version of Streaming Charts from optionsXpress is available in the private Quotes section. Lincoln Financial Group published an i4LIFE Advantage Total Payout Calculator that illustrates retirement income with the i4LIFE Advantage rider based on clients’ ages and investments. T. Rowe Price made enhancements to its rechristened Retirement Income tool, including more inputs and results data and the ability to model and compare alternative savings scenarios. Fidelity also added a Medicare needs-related tool to its retirement participant site.
  • A Number of Firms Update Public and Private Sites – Fidelity added customization options to its private site homepage, while E*TRADE updated the look and feel of its entire private site with more white space, larger text and a tabular organization. Five firms updated private site money movement interfaces, with changes to the BB&T and Safeco payments pages, AXA transfers pages, American Funds automatic transactions interface and Bank of America balance transfers journey. Discover and Fidelity both revamped private site profile interfaces, while MFS updated the account settings and eDelivery pages. Lastly, MassMutual revamped its RetireSmart retirement readiness tool with a new interface, more inputs, results data and usability features, while USAA updated the Help tool, now providing a movable overlay window.  We also saw a number of updated public site interfaces and product pages. Ally Bank integrated its banking and lending sites into a single experience with new navigation, header and footer along with an updated color scheme. Discover updated the public site homepage and introduced a new single-tab main navigation All Products dropdown menu with links to its banking and credit card products. The firm also revamped the public site Credit Resource Center, adding an anchored header and new search field. Invesco introduced a new white and gray color scheme, updated homepage and simpler navigation. Following the dissolution of the public Capital One 360 site, Capital One added product pages and online applications for all 360 deposit products. Lastly, Chase revamped its checking account product and overview pages, while USAA and Prudential both updated their life insurance product pages.
  • Federal Reserve’s Rate Increase Is a Hot Topic – As a result of the December 14, 2016 rate hike, 12 firms increased their prime lending rates: Bank of America, BB&T, Chase, Citibank, Citizens Bank, KeyBank, Merrill Edge, PNC Bank, Santander Bank, SunTrust Bank, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo. Two firms, American Funds and TD Ameritrade, added public site banners and pages acknowledging the recent increase. Lastly, E*TRADE, Fidelity, Hartford Funds, MFS, PIMCO and Vanguard published commentaries or articles in response to the Fed’s increase.



Charles Schwab Announces Launch of Hybrid Robo-Advisor

The firm announced its Schwab Intelligent Advisory, a hybrid robo-advisor set to launch in the first half of 2017. The newest robo-advisor will combine an automated investment portfolio with ongoing live advice from certified financial planners. Based on their financial plans, clients will be invested in fully-automated Schwab Intelligent Portfolios, which are composed of low-cost ETFs from 20 diverse asset classes. Once enrolled in the service, clients will be able to create a financial and investment plan, have access to professional guidance and create a customized dashboard.

New Tech from TD Ameritrade

TD announced new apps for Amazon Alexa and mobile phones. A new Alexa skill offers voice-enabled quote search, providing quotes for over 75,000 symbols and 3,800 indices, as well as all major U.S. exchanges. The first mobile app for long-term investors with managed accounts is set to launch in January 2017. The app provides views of goals, target amount and long-term goal progress, probability of reaching targets and gains and losses, along with customizable display charts of historical performance and hypothetical projections.

Chubb Redesigns and Updates Private Site

The updated private site retains nearly all functionality while replacing its light blue navigational structure with one of a deeper blue and introducing new Notifications and Preferences pages. The new Notifications page displays a list of clients’ previously received notifications and links to the new Preferences page, where clients can choose which alerts they have enabled. Clients can turn on billing, claim and policy notifications and add an additional email address on the Preferences page.

New Private Site Homepage

Previous Private Site Homepage