For the third blog in CI’s series on asset manager UX in transactions, we have more research-backed tips to help asset managers stand out. Just like the first two blogs in this series, this post has a specific focus: automatic investment plans, or AIPs.

AIPs let investors determine when, how often and how much to invest in their mutual fund accounts. While most firms offer the AIP process through physical forms, this is actually counterproductive to the main goal of an AIP transaction: convenience.

While offering a digital AIP option is a great start, asset managers can ensure their AIPs are as convenient as possible by incorporating the following three best practices into their digital processes:

1. Make it short and sweet: Consolidate the AIP process into three steps for better asset manager UX

Since investors likely enter the AIP process with an investment amount and cadence in mind, there is no reason for lengthy, jumbled or confusing processes. In fact, overly long processes not only counteract convenience but also may deter once-interested investors from completing the transaction.

Among the firms we track as part of our asset manager subscription research, most require three steps to set up the AIP, consisting of the following:

  • Detail entry
  • Verification
  • Confirmation

Some firms even improve on the three-step model, allowing investors to enter all the details on one page. Invesco, Janus Henderson and Wells Fargo—whose websites are all hosted on the same parent platform—stand out for allowing investors to enter all the investment plan details in the first step, with verification and confirmation occurring in steps two and three, respectively.

This image shows step one of Invesco's AIP process
Invesco Step One – Enter Details

2. Offer options: Cater to individual investor needs by giving them multiple cadence choices

AIPs can only live up to their convenience hype if they do in fact give investors choices. Firms should offer as many cadence options as possible within the AIP process.

Consider the following cadence options:

  • Customized cadence – gives investors the most freedom to create an AIP that fits their individual needs
  • Weekly, monthly, quarterly – meets investor expectations as basic cadence capabilities
  • Annually, semi-annually, every other month – creates a swifter process as investors can select a more complex cadence without creating a custom schedule themselves

Franklin Templeton ensures its AIP process lives up to the convenience hype by providing the latter three options in addition to the standard cadences, offering a unique set of choices among the coverage set.

3. Follow up fast: Send detailed confirmation emails to help investors keep track of documents

As with the buying and selling and exchanges processes, an immediate confirmation is essential. That’s why we’re recommending email confirmations yet again.

Sending an email confirmation not only mitigates investor concerns about transaction completion, but also ensures that physical statements do not get lost in the mail and cause a hassle. Plus, when firms send an email that confirms the AIP, they show investors that convenience is always top of mind.

Firms should try to include the following value-added features in their emails:

  • Logos – helps to make sure investors do not disregard as spam
  • Customer service information – connects investors with the firm if they have questions or concerns
  • Link to the secure site login page – allows investors to obtain the official confirmation document easily
  • AIP transaction time – enables investors to double-check that they performed this transaction
  • Link to additional resources – encourages investors to take advantage of more of the firm’s offerings
  • Link to a PDF confirmation – ensures investors can quickly download or print the official confirmation document

Janus Henderson excels with its double email system. The first email—which arrives immediately after the trade request submits—provides basic details. The second email alerts investors that their transaction confirmation posted online and directs them to other resources.

This screenshot shows an email confirmation notice from Janus Henderson
Janus Henderson – Second Confirmation Email

These AIP process tips will ensure firms offer convenient AIP processes in addition to providing superior asset manager UX and standing out from competition. To learn how asset managers can excel during other transactions, read our buying and selling and exchanges blogs. And for an in-depth analysis across the coverage set, view the full report (Asset Management Monitor – Investor subscription required) on the asset management AIP process, the third in our three-part series on transactions.

To learn more about the user experience asset management firms provide to investors, contact us at CI about our Asset Management Monitor research services.