Tuesday Tips – Five Ways to Enhance Retirement Plan Participant Homepages

by on Dec 04, 2012

tuesday_tips_smallTuesday Tips serves to help financial services firms improve a key aspect of the online user experience. Recommendations are taken directly from our Monitor Reports and Consulting Services research, which cover banking, brokerage, credit cards, asset management, retirement, annuities and insurance.

This week’s recommendations come from our Retirement Plan Monitor report titledPlan Participant Homepages and focus on ways retirement plan providers can improve the homepages on their online participant websites:

#1 Offer Advanced Account Data – Many participants log in to their retirement plan websites to simply check the account’s progress. To allow participants to seamlessly determine how their retirement account is performing, providers should feature advanced statistics and charts illustrating the statistics prominently on the homepage. Sixty-three percent of Retirement Plan Provider firms feature the account’s rate of return on the homepage, and 68% include contribution information.

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ADP Participant Homepage – Accounts at a Glance

#2 Organize Content within Intra-Page Tabs – As providers strive to release more space-efficient homepages, a number of strategies may be employed to better archive information determined to be pertinent. Paramount to these strategies is effectively using intra-page tabs to house information that must be featured on the page. TIAA-CREF successfully archives information using intra-page tabs, as does Vanguard and Fidelity. All three of the providers allow participants to toggle between statistics and charts, offering access to important account-related data.

#3 Promote Mobile Apps and Social Media Pages – Due to continued growth in demand for mobile access and to ensure that participants are aware of all provider-offered capabilities, social media sites and mobile apps should be promoted on the homepage through hyperlinked icons and/or promotional images. While 56% of providers offer a mobile app, only 19% promote their apps on a participant site homepage. Similarly, only 13% promote social media pages on the account homepages.

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ING Mobile App Promotion

#4 Include Watchlists on the Homepage – The participant homepages for retirement plans serve as excellent real estate on which to feature market data and more importantly watchlists. These watchlists serve as a supplemental resource that serves a functional need: allowing participants to easily monitor the progress of individual securities. A homepage may ultimately come to be used as more of a financial account hub from which participants monitor a range of different accounts, gather information on financial markets and consume multi-media pieces about investing and finance. However, the implementation of a watchlist is paramount in a homepage achieving such status. ING does a good job in positioning its watchlist on the participant homepage. Mercer and Vanguard also provide access to a watchlist from their respective homepages, but only through hyperlinks; the watchlist is not immediately accessible from their pages.

#5 Incorporate Multimedia– Multimedia offers providers an effective means to promote their services on their respective homepages and enables participants to succinctly consume promotional information. When implemented correctly, it allows providers to communicate an abundance of information while consuming a relatively small amount of homepage real estate. ING effectively implements a promotional video on its participant homepage. The video generates over the page after clicking a small promotional image in the right column and discusses the advantages offered through using a financial advisor and/or advisory services.