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Asset Manager Websites Drive Advisors' Decision to Invest: J.D. Power

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What You Need to Know

  • The firms in the top-performing quintile are BlackRock, Capital Group and JPMorgan.
  • J.D. Power said clear site navigation and ability to find the information and tools needed is a core requirement of asset manager websites.
  • Very few asset manager websites meet advisors’ needs when it comes to providing information on ESG strategies.

The information asset managers do and don’t provide on their websites and the ease of access to that information have become key drivers of strong intent to invest and high Net Promoter Scores

However, according to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Advisor Online Experience Study, released Thursday, many asset managers are missing the mark on basic website navigation and functionality, which results in a significant gap in satisfaction between top- and bottom-ranked firms. 

“Asset managers need to recognize that their websites are often the most significant touchpoint they have with advisors,” Mike Foy, senior director of wealth intelligence at J.D. Power, said in a statement. “We’ve all become accustomed to being able to quickly find information online without having to pick up the phone or send an email for every question.” 

The same experience applies to the advisor-asset manager relationship, Foy said. “Advisors are significantly more likely to invest more with a firm that makes it easy for them to quickly find the information and tools they need. Some firms are delivering on that promise, while others are lagging far behind.” 

J.D. Power said it redesigned and renamed the U.S. Advisor Online Experience Study, previously known as the Advisor Digital Engagement Study, this year to reflect the increasingly prominent role that asset manager websites play in the day-to-day workflow of financial advisors. 

The study explores how financial advisors interact with asset manager websites as part of their practice of helping clients build and manage optimal portfolios. It evaluates advisor interaction with asset manager websites based on speed, information/content, visual appeal and navigation. The new study, fielded during the summer, is based on 3,104 total evaluations. 

Key Findings

The study found that 93% of advisors that give overall satisfaction scores of 800 or higher to an asset manager’s website, on a 1,000-point scale, said they were extremely likely to increase investment during the next three months with that firm. 

However, only 11% of evaluations have conferred these high scores on asset managers. Similarly, those asset manager firms with the highest levels of overall satisfaction also had an NPS of 89, the highest in the study. 

The firms in the top-performing quintile are BlackRock, Capital Group and JPMorgan.

More on this topic

J.D. Power said clear site navigation and ability to find the information and tools needed is a core requirement of asset manager websites. However, just 37% of advisors said it is very easy to find the information they need, and only 34% said it is very easy to find the features and tools they need on an asset manager’s website. 

Despite widespread media attention and highly publicized efforts to increase their focus on environmental, social and governance issues, very few asset manager websites meet advisors’ needs when it comes to providing information on ESG strategies, according to the study. 

On average, just a quarter of advisors said an asset manager’s website meets their ESG needs. Further, among all brand attributes measured in the study, asset managers performed lowest on being committed to ESG. 

The study also found that while many asset manager websites provide basic information on their market outlooks and investment insights, very few effectively differentiate with unique thought leadership, guidance/advice on advisory practice management and new business development. 

When advisors are aware of these differentiated types of site content, satisfaction rises. 

Very few advisors in the study reported that they have had a wholesaler or other asset manager representative provide a demonstration or tour of available resources on their website. 

Only 23% of advisors said they had had this experience, but satisfaction among those who did was 103 points higher than among those who had not.

(Photo: Adobe Stock)