Q&A: MyPrivateBanking's Report on Fund and Asset Management Websites

The foundation of any financial firm’s digital experience starts with a well-designed, data-driven website. MyPrivateBanking conducted extensive research to compile the ultimate report on desktop and mobile websites for fund managers. The report analyzes the strong and weak points of the websites and mobile websites of leading firms like Fidelity, Amundi, PIMCO, BlackRock, Invesco and more.
We sat down with MyPrivateBanking Analyst, Rosalia Engchuan, to discuss the independent research firm’s new report on fund and asset management websites of the top 15 firms. Here is what she had to say about the research:

What was the main objective or motivation for publishing a report like this?

When looking at overall trends in the asset management industry like new regulation on fee models, the rise of automated investments, the emergence of new markets and the demographic shift it becomes clear that the role of individual investors is becoming increasingly important. Also, the digital revolution is transforming the way we interact and access information. The role of fund and asset managers in this new digitally-driven world is a different one. The basis for this new role of fund managers is their online presence on websites and mobile websites. Our main objective to publish the Websites for Fund and Asset Management Report was to provide an overview of the status quo and to give detailed instructions on how a winning fund management website for individual investors can be built.

What criteria did you use to choose the ‘top 15’ asset managers?

The fund managers included were chosen based on their size of assets under management to ensure that they have a strong global influence. In order to represent a balanced view of different global regions, some slightly smaller fund managers were included. Another criterion, based on the nature of the report was that the asset managers did have an online presence for individual clients. Overall, we have made a selection of fifteen fund managers offering a website with content for individual clients and which are all among the global top twenty-five with regard to AuM.

Do you work with the fund managers to create this report? If so, how?

In developing our criteria, we are building on years of research in the field of digital media in the financial services industry, including, for example, regular in-depth interviews with financial providers and comprehensive surveys aimed at profiling today’s digital use patterns of high-net-worth clients (for more information, see here). During the evaluation process, we did not gather input from fund managers as we really wanted to focus on the client perspective and assess the user experience from the perspective of an interested website visitor. This perspective is often not known by fund managers and therefore can provide valuable insights for a better understanding of client behaviours.

One of the key takeaways from the report seems to be “The majority of fund managers offer no interactive tools to support clients in processing large amounts of complex fund information” – how do you define “large amounts of fund information”? Did you also consider total number of funds?

When talking about large amounts of fund information, we refer to the huge amounts of data that is often also highly regulated: performance data, risk information, asset allocation, fees, size and many more. This data is important for the decision making process but also very hard to digest if the website visitor is confronted with nothing more than endless lists of numbers. Interactive tools and data visualization can really make the difference here. The aim is to support the website visitor in the decision making process, to present information in a way that is easily digestible and offers opportunities to work with the data. The total number of funds is surely also adding complexity to the provision of information. However, with sophisticated search tools, taking into account individual risk preferences and life stage, the website visitor will not even notice the highly complex fund offer in the background.

Another point of interest was “The slow adoption of mobile media leaves the fund management industry far behind other industries” – Do you think reports like this will act as a catalyst to fund managers speeding up their digital mobile strategies?

It is always important to remember that fund managers are not only competing with their peers but also with the emerging scene of FinTech service providers. These have the clear advantage of being digitally native from the beginning. Fund managers without mobile touch points are risking the lose of clients, that are simply expecting mobile touch-points. As shown in the report, there are already outstanding mobile offers within the fund management industry. Both Franklin Templeton and PIMCO have reached the full score for their excellent mobile offers. For those who still lack behind, the report will show where they stand and also what to do in order to catch up. As such, the report can definitely act as a catalyst in a development that is already happening and will definitely not avoid the asset management industry.

If you repeat this report in a year’s time, do you anticipate the results to be very different?

The asset management industry is typically very slow when it comes to the adoption of new trends. However, offering sophisticated digital touch-points is not just a trend that fund managers can choose to adopt or not. The new generation of investors can not be reached with conservative website strategies that lack customization and interactivity. So keeping up to date with the latest trends is a must. We have observed, that many fund managers are currently in the process of working on a revamp of their website. Generally, we are optimistic, that the results will be better in the next report. Especially, as the digital revolution is already at an advanced stage and even slow adopters are forced to make a move at this point.

What is the #1 takeaway of this report for fund management marketers?

The report does not only give a detailed overview of the status quo – it also gives provides strategic and practical recommendations for creating desktop and mobile websites that can engage both new and existing clients. The report outlines the requirements for a winning website strategy based on 60 criteria, covering user experience, navigation and structure; content; interactivity, integration and social media and mobile accessibility and availability offered by the fund management websites of each institution.