The market analytics company kasina has released its annual review of asset managers’ websites, and the top five websites saw a shakeup this year.
The report, “Advancing the Advisor Decision Journey with the Advisor Website,” evaluates sites created for U.S. financial advisors by firms representing a broad cross-section of the industry.
“Advisor websites are an important aspect of the advisor decision-making process, yet they tend to be underfunded,” said Tracy Needham, senior research analyst for kasina, in a statement. “Effectively presenting what advisors want to see will go a long ways toward earning their loyalty and their business.”
For its 2015 analysis, kasina surveyed more than 450 financial advisors on website personalization, demographics and user behavior. The results were then combined with reviews of more than 40 asset manager advisor websites to create a unique and comprehensive set of criteria for evaluating the effectiveness of asset manager websites.
For the first time in the more than 16 years it has evaluated mutual fund websites, kasina has incorporated behind-the-scenes personalization into its site evaluations.
“It’s clear that asset managers need to personalize content, and the survey shows that some firms are doing much better to that end than others,” Needham said in a statement. “Advisors get frustrated with websites that appear to have nothing to do with their interests, and frustrating advisors is hardly a way to become a trusted partner.”
To determine the top websites, kasina uses a quantitative analysis focused on the availability of key content items and features in five broad areas. It rewards those with “content and design that differentiates the firm;” “timely, prominent news and insights;” “rich information about firm experts;” “good usability on mobile devices;” and “a thematic, rather than format-centric, approach to content.”
kasina also test-drives the user experience of each website.
From there, the scores from each evaluation category are weighted to derive an overall kasina Web Index (kWI) score.
“While several firms are repeating their top site appearances, several firms were substantially repositioned,” the report states.
The firm notes that it does not compensate financial advisors who participate in the surveys, and asset managers do not pay to be evaluated.
Here are kasina’s Top 5 Websites for Financial Intermediaries in 2015:
5. The Royce Funds
kWI Score 2015: 70.5
kWI Score 2014: 85
“Royce’s fund profiles still excel at providing a variety of risk and return elements to give advisors a better sense of how a fund will perform in the portfolio over time,” according to the report. “The variety of ‘why of performance’ data gives them a better sense of what’s driving those returns, so advisors can see how likely the performance trend is to continue.”
According to kasina, the usability of The Royce Funds’ site continues to be high, and was “further enhanced” by the addition of social login option for LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo. New filtering options on the fund performance, insights and news pages also boosted the site’s usefulness.
“The biggest changes this year happened behind the scenes, with the integration of a new CRM and marketing automation that has fueled better data for decision-making and, more recently, personalization efforts on the site,” the report states.
kWI Score 2015: 72.7
kWI Score 2014: 42
“PIMCO’s advisor website received a complete makeover this past year, which significantly boosted its usability, differentiation and ability to deliver a more personal experience,” the report says. “Mobile accessibility took a big leap forward with the streamlined, responsive design.”
In addition, kasina praised the site’s variety of timely commentary and insights.