The desktop brokerage experience offers an impressive array of unique, new and clever UX features. Standout brokerage UX features provide best-in-class experiences that encourage clients to make the most of their brokerages’ offerings. Standout UX features also represent a valuable differentiation opportunity for brokerages, allowing firms to burnish their reputations as sophisticated, reliable outfits.

Last month, CI’s brokerage team published a UX Highlights report (e-Monitor subscription required) that surveys UX features across eight categories: Education, Portfolio Analysis, Prebuilt Portfolios/Screeners, Research, Security, Support, Trade Ticket and Trading. In addition to detailed descriptions and analysis of the features, the report includes UX Spotlight call-outs that highlight UX functionality and design. Here are three high-level findings from the report (and be sure to see our accompanying blog post for more standout UX brokerage features from the report):

Several firms have recently released excellent offerings

Within the past 18 months, firms have implemented considerable UX improvements across many aspects of the desktop interface with a particular focus on the wholesale trading experience. CI’s researchers have witnessed marked improvements to research capabilities and trade tickets.

In May 2022, Fidelity launched its Trading Dashboard, which provides self-directed clients with basic active trading capabilities. Serving as an introduction to the firm’s paid active trading platform, the Trading Dashboard offers a clean, tiled design. It features robust charting tools and some third-party analysis and commentary.

A screenshot of Fidelity's standout UX brokerage features
Fidelity Secure Site Trading Dashboard

In April 2023, Charles Schwab introduced a floating SnapTicket that allows clients to quickly trade stocks, ETFs and options from much of the secure site. While the SnapTicket does not support mutual fund trading, it features all the tooltips and contextual help offered on the standard All-in-One trade ticket.

A screenshot showing Charles Schwab's secure site snapticket UX brokerage feature
Charles Schwab Secure Site SnapTicket Stock/ETFs Tab

Firms also consistently iterate upon long-standing features

Some firms consistently upgrade well-established features, either improving functionality, refreshing aesthetics or implementing minor tweaks that enhance usability. Recently, we have seen updates to several portfolio analysis tools. In September 2022, Vanguard instituted an aesthetic revamp of its Portfolio Watch tool implementing sleeker graphic visualizations and bolder font throughout.

A screenshot showing Vanguard's secure site homepage portfolio watch interface
Vanguard Secure Site Homepage – Portfolio Watch Interface

Also in September 2022, Morgan Stanley updated its Portfolio Analytics tool, adding a Risk Assessment tab that offers several unique portfolio risk analysis features. The tab includes a portfolio volatility score and a tool that enables clients to compare the risk level of their portfolio to model portfolios.

A screenshot showing Morgan Stanley's secure site portfolio analytics risk assessment tab
Morgan Stanley Secure Site Portfolio Analytics Page Risk Assessment Tab

U.S. Bancorp Self-Directed Investing stands out for offering a unique account security rating feature

Prominently located at the top of the secure site Security Center page, the Your Security Rating feature provides clients with a score ranging from Moderate to Excellent. The tool grades clients based on the number of security features that they have implemented, listing the features within expandable tiles and helpfully organizing them as High, Medium and Low impact. Notably, clients can bolster their security directly within some tiles by verifying pieces of account information, while other tiles include buttons or links that allow clients to easily implement the selected feature.

U.S. Bancorp's Self-Directed Investing secure site security settings UX feature
U.S. Bancorp Self-Directed Investing Secure Site Security Page

For more of CI’s ongoing research into developments and trends within the financial services industry, check out our Insights page. Also, check out our e-Monitor research services and contact us using this form.

Sam Marlowe

Sam Marlowe is a Senior Analyst on CI's brokerage team.