The company Corporate Insight tracks what firms are cooking up for consumers and calls out the most meaningful enhancements via its annual Monitor Awards. In 2011, the company tracked the best innovations in real-money accounts of more than 100 financial institutions. Among the overall findings:
Mutual fund firms released 25 new adviser-targeted tools and eight new tools for retail investors. Uses varied from calculating college savings needs to assisting with portfolio building and tracking fund performance.
Credit card issuers spent considerable time and capital on webpage redesigns. The most active highlighted enhancements in marketing pitches delivered via social media, with Facebook and Foursquare cited among the most-used channels.
Brokerage firms used 2011 to enhance their online trading capabilities, expand research offerings, and introduce mobile apps. Seven firms added new screeners and tools for equity investors.