Smartphone and tablet ownership is on the rise globally. Pew Research shows that as of this year two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone.
“Financial firms must stay current and leverage the mobile Web to establish a meaningful presence on their customers’ devices,” according to Boston-based consulting firm Dalbar. “Recognizing this necessity, many financial services firms are providing mobile-optimized websites catering to the mobile-broadband subscribers.”
Dalbar has released its Mobile InSIGHT report that examines innovations in the world of mobile optimized websites.
During the second semester of 2015, Dalbar’s group of digital analysts completed an in-depth review of a total of 46 mobile websites offered by financial services firms.
Of the 46 mobile sites evaluated, 26% either underwent notable changes over the last six months or are new to Dalbar’s evaluation pool this semester.
The sites are evaluated based on a criteria of 11 distinct evaluation categories, which include design, security, mobile optimization, ease of use, personalization and customization, support, interaction with the firm, interactivity, navigation, core content and behavior-centric features.
From there, mobile sites are awarded a score from 0 – 100 and ranked within their respective audience, whether retirement provider, mutual fund or life insurance & annuity.
Here are the 10 highest-scoring sites in the financial services space.
No. 10 (No. 7 among retirement provider mobile sites)
Principal Financial’s mobile site was rewarded for its behavior centric, interactivity, interaction with the firm, ease of use, security, design and support capabilities.
A new redesign of its site significantly increased the firm’s score in the areas of Interaction with the Firm and Behavior Centric.
According to Dalbar, Principal Financial completely redesigned both its pre and post-login areas to be responsive to mobile users. The mobile site could previously only access account data – leaving the pre-login content unavailable to mobile users.
While not all post-login areas are fully responsive, this redesign is certainly well-organized with the essential account information.
Principal Financial’s life insurance and annuity mobile site also ranked No. 6 among other life insurance & annuity mobile sites with a 67.38 score.
No. 9 (No. 6 among retirement provider mobile sites)
T. Rowe Price
T. Rowe Price received high scores for the security, navigation and behavior centric capabilities of its mobile site.
According to Dalbar, T. Rowe Price previously offered a mobile site to retirement plan participants that “excelled in presenting fund information but provided a limited volume of account details.”
The firm recently redesigned its Workplace Retirement Web site and made the post-login view responsive. While the fund details are still available, account holders now have access to their messages, statements and personal preferences. The firm offers both account views upon login.
No. 8 (No. 5 among retirement provider mobile sites)
Previously, Vanguard allowed its plan participants to login using the individual investor mobile site. Now, both retirement plan participants and investors each have a responsive site designed with the particular audience in mind.
Vanguard’s retirement provider mobile site received top scores for its design, security, interactivity, navigation and behavior centric capabilities.
No. 7 (No. 4 among retirement provider mobile sites)
Merrill Lynch’s mobile site for its retirement plan participants received top honors for its design, security, mobile optimization, navigation and behavior centric features.
Merrill Lynch was one of only three retirement providers that were rewarded for the mobile optimization of its website.
Dalbar considers a site mobile optimized if it has a mobile-friendly pre-login, appropriately formatted pages and the ability to load data incrementally.
Score: 81.57 (No. 3 among mutual fund mobile sites)
Score: 79.95 (No. 3 among retirement provider mobile sites)
TIAA-CREF received high scores for both its mutual fund and retirement provider audiences. Its mobile sites were rewarded for its navigation, interactivity, interaction with the firm, ease of use, security and design.