February 2017 Trends & Highlights: Ally Invest, Educational Resources and New Products

by on Mar 10, 2017


  • New Products, Plus Rate and Fee Updates, from 15 Firms – This month, nine firms launched 10 new products, including four annuities, one checking account, three credit cards and two digital investment platforms. Voya introduced a fixed index, Allianz added a fee-based fixed index, and Jackson and Lincoln both added fee-based variable annuity products. USAA introduced a rewards checking account and a new credit card product—the Limitless Cashback Rewards card—available as a limited online-only offer for USAA members in 20 states. Chase added and Barclaycard US reintroduced credit card products, the Amazon.com Prime Visa Signature and Ring MasterCard, respectively. The Barclaycards Ring product page and online application returned to the public site after temporary suspension since May 2016. Raymond James announced a new advisor-oriented digital advice platform, Connected Advisor, which will include client-facing tools and market insights, and Merrill Edge launched public-facing content for its Guided Investing platform. Franklin Templeton introduced Spryng, a crowdfunding tool for 529 account members that allows users to create a gifting profile to solicit donations from friends and family. Two banks and two brokerages updated rate and fee information: BB&T increased both the daily and 30-day mobile check deposit limits while TD Bank introduced next-day ACH transfers for a $7 fee. In the brokerage space, Charles Schwab lowered standard online equity and ETF trade commissions from $8.95 to $6.95 while E*TRADE doubled its no-load, no-transaction fee (NTF) funds, bringing its total offerings to 4,400 NTF funds.
  • 12 Firms Update Mobile Apps and Capabilities – February saw an increase in mobile app capabilities, including two fully redesigned apps, across the financial services industry. Safeco introduced a new app that replicates the desktop private site user experience, allowing clients to manage policies, report auto accidents, view ID Cards, pay bills, update contact or policy information, check claims statuses, call roadside assistance and add policies from their mobile devices. Merrill Edge/Lynch launched redesigned apps for Android that feature simplified navigation, a new dashboard, interactive and customizable charts for securities, contextual help and more. Two firms, Discover and Vanguard, added fingerprint authentication for Android and iOS devices, respectively. Discover also now allows card holders to edit passwords and access and download tax documents from the app. Vanguard redesigned its funds list and added a My IRA Summary screen with a detailed view option and Contribute Now link. Four firms’ apps feature new capabilities: Citicards now supports card scanning technology for faster card activation, E*TRADE allows users to manage bill pay payees, Capital One lets users add receipts in the Capital One Wallet, and TD Ameritrade offers 10 option strategy chains. Three other firms made adjustments to existing app capabilities: Capital One now allows Android users to customize their home screen tile layout, State Farm added a progress meter to the report claim journey and TD Ameritrade enhanced the review order screen with current and estimated holdings. Separately, Bank of America celebrated its app’s 10th anniversary, announcing upcoming features, including a virtual assistant.



State Farm and Athene Provide Education Resources while Prudential Promotes Life Insurance Products via Love

State Farm published a Simple Insights microsite with educational articles, discounts and calculators that recommend best practices for home maintenance, auto safety and personal finance.

New State Farm Public Site Simple Insights Microsite Homepage

Athene added an advisor site Indexed Annuity Resource center housing brochures and videos that describe the indices available with Athene fixed indexed annuities; tables organize images and links to each.

New Athene Advisor Site Indexed Annuity Resource Center Page (Truncated)

Prudential’s new public microsites, Masterpiece of Love and its companion Tell Your Story, share stories of lost loved ones and promote life insurance products. Short films on the sites feature works of art related to themes of life after loss.

New Prudential Public Tell Your Story Microsite Homepage

TradeKing to Rebrand as Ally Invest

The firm notified clients via a plain-text email that it will soon be known as Ally Invest and that its TradeKing Securities and Advisors accounts are migrating to the Ally Financial platform and will be available through Ally.com shortly. Corporate Insight first announced the acquisition in April 2016.

TradeKing Special Information Page (Truncated)

T. Rowe Price Adds Personalized Video to Participant Site

The brief, animated video provides an overview of participants’ account data and retirement readiness and offers specific calls to action to help participants improve their standings. The new video embodies the digital retirement space’s move toward more personalized retirement planning over the last year.

T. Rowe Price Your Retirement Video Still