- Firms Welcome Tax Season – In January, firms within our Mutual Fund Monitor, e-Monitor and Bank Monitor coverage groups glided into tax season by collectively adding a host of tax-related content and Turbo Tax promotions, and by updating their private site tax centers. Vanguard, Legg Mason and T. Rowe Price added links on their homepages that lead to their respective tax centers. T. Rowe Price also added an image to its homepage that links to a promotional page describing the discount offerings from TurboTax software available to existing and prospective clients. Fidelity also promoted a TurboTax discount of up to $20 for both current and prospective clients, while BB&T began offering a $25,000 giveaway co-sponsored by TurboTax. To further enhance tax-related content, Charles Schwab and E*TRADE Financial updated their tax centers. Schwab’s updated tax center features new icons that lead to existing tax-related content, along with a new Expert Perspective section that features tax articles. E*TRADE completely revamped its private site tax center, which now features six new sections: Tax Documents, Cost Basis Resources, Gains and Losses, Tax Efficient Investing, Global Trading Account and Schedules. Each section contains a range of existing tax-focused articles, videos, FAQs and calculators.
- Microsites Galore – Four firms covered by our Mutual Fund Advisor Monitor – American Funds, Franklin Templeton, Allianz Global and BlackRock – released new microsites focused on investment forecasting for 2015. American Funds’ sitelet houses a collection of graphs taken from the firm’s recent report on global growth and sustainable income, while Franklin Templeton’s new microsite highlights the firm’s 2015 Investment Perspective report. The new Allianz Global and BlackRock microsites both showcase a collection of forecasting commentaries produced by their respective thought leaders, with BlackRock’s sitelet focusing specifically on fixed income solutions.
- January is Not a Charitable Month for Firms – After observing seven ongoing charitable campaigns across our Monitor groups over the past four months, no charitable events or sweepstakes were promoted in January. As firms transition from the holiday season into tax season, charitable initiatives are taking a back seat.
In January, Fidelity launched a new tool – Stocks Nearby – for its mobile app that allows iPhone users to research publicly traded companies in their vicinity. Clients can view the ticker symbols of nearby companies and select the ones that interest them to conduct further research or trade stocks directly. This innovative new tool not only provides users with an interactive method by which to research securities, but also adds a new visual dimension to stock research. It will be interesting to see whether lesser-known public companies gain more exposure as the tool becomes more widely used.
Stocks Nearby Tool – Fidelity Mobile App
Morgan Stanley Responds to Internal Cyber Threat
Morgan Stanley announced that an employee stole personal data from up to 350,000 Wealth Management clients, including account names and numbers. The personal information of 900 clients was posted online before being detected and subsequently removed by the firm. While no Social Security numbers were reported stolen, this insider breach should no doubt shine a light on the security issues inherent not only in the cyber world, but also within brokerage firms themselves.
AllianceBernstein, Now Known As “AB”
AllianceBernstein recently announced that it will now be called “AB” in conjunction with a new “Ahead of Tomorrow” rebranding campaign that features revamped investor and advisor websites. The campaign seeks to create greater internal unity within the firm and promote more brand clarity as a whole. The unified, image-heavy investor and advisor sites feature responsive design and a large, convenient new navigational menu system.
Message to Private Site Members Regarding Rebranding