NEW YORKJune 27, 2024 — New benchmarking research from Corporate Insight (CI) finds that hybrid brokerages—firms that serve both self-directed and advised investors—continue to offer the best digital experiences, while top full-service firms are closing the competitive gap. The 2024 Brokerage Website and Mobile Experience Benchmark reports evaluate 20 leading brokerage firms across hundreds of digital attributes to provide a detailed view of how firms compare in terms of functionality and usability, backed by investor survey data and in-depth interviews. The research finds that the best desktop experiences still come from hybrid firms Fidelity, Charles Schwab, E*TRADE and Merrill Edge, but that top full-service firms like Merrill Lynch, Ameriprise and Morgan Stanley have closed much of the digital gap.

“The performance of hybrid firms reflects feature-rich platforms designed to serve both self-directed and advised investors,” says Ian Bonhotal, Brokerage Research Manager at CI. “All four leaders excel in the Benchmark’s most important categories: Account Information, Design & Navigation and Trading. They also do well in the Research & Tools category, where we consider charts, investment alerts, quotes, news, research, screeners and watchlists.”

For this edition of the Brokerage Experience Benchmarks, CI surveyed 1,397 investors and conducted over 40 hours of in-depth interviews to understand investor preferences and usage. Surveyed investors highly valued their brokerage firm’s desktop site, with 81% saying it is “very important” or “extremely important” and 68% saying they log in weekly. Users are also generally satisfied with brokerage digital platforms, particularly for frequently completed tasks, but content layout and feature awareness are issues. In-depth interviews revealed that even experienced traders find some homepages overwhelming, with many traders unaware that tools they use on third-party websites were also available from their brokerage firm.

“In terms of year-to-year changes, we saw the most updates in the Design & Navigation category, with firms seeking to help users find and use the full suite of features,” says James McGovern, Vice President at CI. “This reflects the broader trend of financial institutions moving toward one-stop shop models for their customers’ financial needs, with investing, banking, credit cards and advice in one platform. Intuitive design is critical to help users navigate these options.”

The benchmarks examine the following categories:

  • Account Information
  • Account Servicing
  • Design & Navigation
  • Profile & Settings
  • Research & Tools
  • Support
  • Trading
  • Prospect Experience (Website only)

Firms covered:

  • Ally Invest
  • Ameriprise
  • Charles Schwab
  • Citi Self Invest
  • E*TRADE
  • Edward Jones
  • Fidelity
  • J.P. Morgan SDI
  • Merrill Edge
  • Merrill Lynch
  • Morgan Stanley
  • Raymond James
  • RBC
  • Robinhood
  • SoFi
  • TIAA
  • U.S. Bancorp SDI
  • UBS
  • Vanguard
  • Wells Fargo Advisors