Fund product pages allow financial advisors to stay abreast of fund strategies, performance and risk data as well as expense details and benefits, thereby helping them sell products and manage client portfolios more effectively. Product profiles need to be detailed yet concise enough that all information can be easily interpreted. We analyzed advisor site fund profile pages for all 20 firms in our coverage set.[i]
Our review primarily focuses on the level of detail provided for the fund summary, such as daily prices, annual returns, manager profiles and asset allocations. We evaluate the performance data, specifically historical performance, hypothetical growth and risk factors. We also assess the value-added components, such as interactive features, customization options and integrated buttons for comparison and hypothetical tools.
Overall, most firms boast attractive, responsively designed profiles that effectively highlight key data and make navigation seamless. In this report, we note a trend toward long-scroll, single-page design instead of the traditional intrapage tab format. Many firms effectively balance the volume and depth of information on product pages with dynamic graphs and charts. Leaders in this report excel in offering customization options for performance charts and graphs, benchmark indices, sharing features and comparison tools. Firms should continue to integrate tools, call-to-action buttons and related resources to create a one-stop shopping experience.
Twenty-six percent of the firms we cover have completely overhauled their product pages in terms of overall design, navigation structure and content since 2016. A third of firms made design enhancements, such as the addition of a robust header or sharing icons. Less than half of firms (42%) have not made any changes. In comparison to our 2016 analysis, we saw fewer firms undergo major changes to the fund profile pages, as firms opted to maintain their adopted aesthetics.
Firms Continue to Implement Long-Scroll and Responsive Page Designs
In this report, more than half of the firms (60%) implement a long-scroll, single-page design for their fund profiles, a 57% increase from our 2016 analysis. Advisors can easily jump to sections from a page’s anchored navigation header without having to scroll excessively through the page. The long-scroll style is especially beneficial when viewing the product pages on mobile devices as more advisors turn to their phones and tablets to browse and research. Firms need to consider a page design that can translate to and be legible on a smaller screen. Alternatively, Fidelity employs an intrapage format for its fund profile yet includes a View All tab, presenting all content on a single, long-scroll page. Fidelity advisors are given the option to select their viewing style, which is a nice perk. In addition to the long-scroll format, J.P. Morgan also employs a secondary sidebar menu within the Portfolio section to expedite navigation to specific areas.
The long-scroll page design intensifies the need for a robust header or overview providing key data, quick links and customization options. Many firms boast an impressive top section with fund literature links, Morningstar ratings and share class dropdown menus. Fidelity, J.P. Morgan and PIMCO provide exemplary page designs that highlight key fund details and include predictive search bars at the very top of profile pages.
J.P. Morgan Fund Profile Summary Section with Jump Links
Interactive Elements and Personalization Options Make Performance Data Digestible
As one of the most important components of the fund profiles, performance information must be detailed yet easily digestible. All firms, except Hartford Funds, employ interactive graphs and charts on the product pages to help engage advisors. Most commonly, firms include mouseover capabilities that show the specific amount, percentage or date in a small pop-up box. Several firms offer additional customization options for the dynamic graphs, such as returns dates, timeframes and indices.
Twenty percent of firms allow advisors to enter a specific date or date range manually, while American Funds, Invesco and OppenheimerFunds enable advisors to select the indices to display. American Funds and Vanguard advisors can view returns at NAV and MOP. Similarly, iShares’s fund profile includes a customizable holdings table that allows advisors to sort all values, choose the month and year of the information being viewed and add or subtract values to the table. Franklin Templeton and OppenheimerFunds advisors can view data with or without sales charges. Several firms (25%) offer downloadable historical performance and holdings data in Excel.
American Funds Annual Returns Chart
Firms that offer multiple performance display options provide a more helpful, personalized experience for their advisors. John Hancock and Lord Abbett allow advisors to view performance statistics as a chart or table by toggling between two buttons in the top right corner of the tab. The dual-format option ensures advisors can view and interpret data according to their preferences. Similarly, Eaton Vance and Invesco notably feature both a chart and table view of historical prices, while OppenheimerFunds features multiple formats for its hypothetical growth chart.
Lord Abbett Average Annual Returns Chart with View Toggle
Several Firms Offer Customization Options for Hypothetical Growth Charts
Nearly every firm, except Invesco and MFS, provides a hypothetical growth chart on its product pages, allowing advisors to visualize and forecast investment performance. Half of firms incorporate some degree of customizability for the illustration, such as allowing advisors to modify the timeframe and the initial investment amount. Personalization options create a more comprehensive user experience on the product pages without having to navigate away from the page. Forty-five percent of firms provide an editable date range, and 15% offer editable indices for the growth chart. Twenty percent of firms set a default $10,000 initial investment but allow advisor to change the amount. Federated, J.P. Morgan and Vanguard allow advisors to download results in Excel.
American Century, Federated and Vanguard allow advisors to add additional funds to the hypothetical growth chart for a fund performance comparison. American Century and Vanguard advisors can add one additional in-house fund to the comparison by entering the fund ticker or using the dropdown menu. Federated stands out by allowing advisors to add up to four in-house as well as, impressively, competitor funds by using dropdown menus. Once a comparison investment is added to the growth chart, advisors can preview key data on the fund through an expandable lightbox that opens from a graph icon button next to the dropdown listing the fund name.
Vanguard Hypothetical Growth Chart
Value-Added Features Remain a Key Component of Fund Profiles
Sixty-five percent of firms include value-added features, such as favorites lists, compare tools and hypothetical illustrators, on their product pages, and 45% allow advisors to track or favorite the fund, creating a convenient folder or list. Advisors can easily mark the fund typically from the header icon. A quarter of firms provide a subscribe option for alerts regarding product and business changes. Several firms include sharing options via social media on the fund profiles, allowing advisors to send content to clients or to promote content on their personal platforms.
PIMCO Sharing Icons
A third of firms include buttons or links to add the product to the site’s hypothetical tool. The hypothetical tool allows users to provide specific parameters for funds such as time periods and distribution instructions in order to view detailed analyses of performance, portfolio holdings and correlation. Franklin Templeton promotes the hypothetical tool in multiple locations on the product pages.
Thirty percent of firms encourage advisors to add the fund to the site’s comparison tool. Most commonly, firms provide a header icon or page button. Putnam dedicates a section on fund profiles for the comparison tools, including a Launch button, and links to several tutorials. OppenheimerFunds includes a pop-up message asking advisors to start to the Morningstar Comparison Tool upon landing on the page. The Morningstar-powered tool lets advisors benchmark the product against any two other funds and presents side-by-side graphs, basic stats and performance figures. Most impressively, J.P. Morgan and OppenheimerFunds integrate both hypothetical and comparison tool options within their product pages.
OppenheimerFunds Morningstar Promotion
Putnam Compare Section
Advisor-Specific Content Profile Content Is Lacking
Advisors look to product pages to gather information about a fund’s description, insight and investment strategy. All coverage group firms offer this information, typically recycling generic copy about a fund’s strategy statements and benefits. A few firms, such as Franklin Templeton, iShares and OppenheimerFunds, go above and beyond and provide advisors actionable advice to help sell the fund. Franklin Templeton features a Selling the Fund section that outlines three talking points about the fund’s performance, benefits and management team for advisors. iShares and OppenheimerFunds offer How to Buy buttons that open contact forms to learn more about the product benefits and to initiate conversation.
iShares Contact Form
In general, however, advisor-targeted content is lacking. Firms could help advisors better understand and differentiate between funds through videos describing the fund’s investment process and outlook. More than half of the firms in this report include some sort of product or market commentary on the product pages, though there are many instances of outdated content or inadequate information. A strong example is Hartford Funds, which features two video commentaries in a dedicated section that help guide advisors through the most pertinent fund details when choosing portfolio strategies for clients. Firms need to create more innovative advisor-specific material to improve the advisor experience.
Hartford Funds Video Commentaries
About the Author
Lauren Roncevic is the Director of Research for Corporate Insight’s Asset Management Monitor and Property & Casualty Insurance Monitor research services. She has conducted extensive research on the asset management and insurance industries, examining the online platforms and technological innovations that leading firms offer clients, prospects and financial professionals.
For more information about the report or Corporate Insight’s services, contact Lauren at LRoncevic@corporateinsight.com or (646) 751-6970.
Corporate Insight was founded in 1992 with a mission to help companies across the financial services industry provide the best possible customer experience for their prospects, customers and advisors. From the perspective of actual account holders, we are able to provide our clients with detailed, unbiased research and actionable recommendations to improve their digital offerings and overall user experience. Corporate Insight’s research examines how financial service companies connect with prospective and current customers via digital and offline channels. By comparing the offerings of competing firms, we are able to highlight best practices related to content, design, functionality and offline support.
[i] John Hancock revamped its fund profiles since our March 2018 review. The statistics cited here have been updated to reflect those changes.