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Digging into the Customer Experience: Brokerage, Online and OffBrokerage is Corporate Insight’s original areas of expertise, dating back to the introduction of Broker Monitor and e-Monitor in the 1990s. Our value-added brokerage and online services research digs deeply to identify and assess specific aspects of the customer experience.
In this e-Monitor Report, we look at online communities offered by brokerage firms. We examine if firms feature groups, blogs or forums in their communities. We reviewed if users can rate content, how they can communicate with other members and if they can share personal holdings data. Finally, we looked at whether firms make content publicly available, and where on the site they place their community.
Only six e-Monitor firms offer an online community. Of those six, three are only open to clients and focus on discussions and opinions, and do not allow members to share trading or portfolio details. The other three do allow members to share that information. All firms allow members to start discussions and subscribe to other members’ community activity. Five firms limit their communities to clients, while one opens it to all investors.
In terms of member communication, four firms allow members to email each other within the community platform. Three firms allow members to invite outside contacts to join the community. Three firms allow members to subscribe to discussions and another three send email notifications when new replies are posted. Four firms provide a variety of formatting and other options to members making discussion posts.
A key component of all the communities we reviewed was the member profile. All firms allow clients to upload a picture or use an avatar. With some firms, clients can include information such as their trading experience, hobbies and interests, Facebook username, and a biography. Of the three firms that allow clients to share investment data, all allow clients to share trading activity and holdings, including number of shares. One firm allows clients to share their position values, and two show portfolio performance over various periods.
Additional Key Findings: