Financial wellness assessments, once considered an add-on feature, are becoming increasingly important in the retail financial services space. Growing interest in these tools combined with the largely underdeveloped offerings across the brokerage space provides ample opportunity for firms to differentiate themselves with best-in-class assessments. These tools can provide personalized recommendations, improve customer financial literacy, boost digital engagement and deepen client relationships.

Below are examples for each area, pulled from both inside and outside of the brokerage industry. Of note, we include an example from Fidelity, which earned first place in the Account & Planning Tools and Education subcategories in this year’s Brokerage Experience Benchmark.

Users see personalized recommendations as more persuasive

A recent UX study conducted by Corporate Insight’s Workplace Finance Monitor found that most respondents saw value in financial wellness assessments and the personalized recommendations they provide. The study also found that users were predisposed to accept the validity of those recommendations and were more open to them than to the recommendations of other tools. Users find the personalized aspects of these financial assessment tools more persuasive than general financial guidance, and thus more valuable on brokerage websites.

T. Rowe Price provides an intuitive Your Action Plan that gives users actionable recommendations and features a suggested focus, prioritized items and progress tracking elements. These personalized results give users a step-by-step guide to improving their financial wellbeing. Our UX study suggests users are more likely to accept these recommendations.

T. Rowe Price Financial Wellness Assessment Results Your Action Plan Page

Assessments can improve financial literacy

In addition to providing actionable recommendations, the best financial wellness assessments gauge the client’s level of financial knowledge before offering advice. In a recent survey conducted by Corporate Insight in partnership with the SPARK Institute, we found that lower levels of financial knowledge often result in disengagement. By tailoring recommendations to the client’s level of understanding, clients are more likely to engage with and understand the provided material.

Financial wellness firm Enrich offers several educational articles along with a prioritized Top Recommendations section and other recommendations organized by topic, type and medium. These recommendations help ensure that users see content that is appropriate and most helpful to their financial situation and financial knowledge.

Enrich Financial Wellness Recommendations

Scores can boost customer digital engagement

Users like assessment tools enough that they will log in just to check their scores. In a recent survey conducted by CI on the topic of gamification tactics, 87% of respondents who use a dedicated PFM site or app that includes a scoring system or point accumulation stated that they log in to the PFM portal to check their score or point total. Most strong financial wellness assessments include either a financial wellness or financial stress score in addition to providing educational and action recommendations. Further, leading firms update scores as users’ situations change, positioning the score as a sort of progress tracking metric.

Financial Finesse includes a financial wellness assessment within its virtual assistant, Aimee. Here, the firm offers a dynamically updating score that changes as users answer questions and provides a final score with a detailed action plan at the end. Scores like this encourage users to log in and engage more with firm content.

Financial Finesse Virtual Assistant Financial Wellness Assessment

Assessments deepen customer relationships

Since users tend to accept recommendations from personalized assessments, these tools can drive awareness of a firm’s other products relevant to a user’s financial situation. For example, if an assessment reveals a customer has a 401(k) plan at a previous employer, it could recommend the firm’s rollover IRA products as a potential solution. Further, firms could leverage the additional data collected from engaged customers to better tailor product promotions and recommendations across the site and proactively communicate via marketing methods.

Fidelity’s website includes a stand-out financial assessment tool that helped the firm earn perfect scores in the Account Analysis & Planning Tools and Education subcategories of the 2024 Experience Benchmark. Specifically, Fidelity excels in using its financial wellness content and tools to provide specific product recommendations that could be helpful to the customer. Notably, the recommendations include both proprietary and third-party solutions, and often the third-party solution recommendations come with some form of discount or bonus.

Fidelity Your Financial Wellness Results Page

For more on CI’s ongoing research into the brokerage experience, learn more about our subscription research services and the Experience Benchmarks. And for more on the latest digital trends across financial services and healthcare, visit our Insights section.

Tucker Douglass

Tucker Douglass is an Analyst on CI's brokerage team