DALBAR Announces the Nation’s Best Participant Web sites for Defined Contribution Business

(Boston, MA – May 20, 2002) DALBAR, Inc. today announced
its pick for the leading Web sites in the defined contribution business for meeting
participant needs. The following firms were recognized as offering Excellent participant
Web sites: MassMutual, The Principal Financial Group, J.P.
Morgan/American Century, Securian, Schwab,
and First Mercantile Trust.

The study involved a review of the participant Web sites and interviews with representatives
from these institutions to reveal future plans. 31 firms were included in the analysis.

Where we are:

The majority of sites offer participants the ability to
enroll in the plan, review their accounts and conduct transactions such as change future
contributions, transfer investments, and rebalance a portfolio. It is also standard to
offer information on the investment options available and to guide participants with
education that explains investment concepts and forecasts retirement needs.

Where we are going:

The study found that the majority of sites plan to
introduce online rollovers, alerts to a third party such as the sponsor or financial
professional, and to introduce user profiles to allow for more customization.

What else needs to happen:

Participant Web sites offer an overwhelming amount of
information, but there is room to grow to meet participant needs. The following features
are offered by less than one-half of the industry’s defined contribution sites:

  • View documents online – electronic access to
    prospectuses, statements, confirmations, etc.

  • Track pending activity

  • Complete forms online

  • Details about the plan, including eligibility, plan features, vesting schedules

  • Marketing information, including news and market commentaries

The full report, DC Web sites: Trends, Benchmarks and Best Practices is available from
DALBAR at [email protected] or 617-723-6400.

DALBAR, Inc., the nation’s leading
financial-services market research firm, is committed to raising the standards of
excellence in the financial-services industry. With offices in both the US and Canada,
DALBAR develops standards for, and provides research, ratings, and rankings of intangible
factors to the mutual fund, broker/dealer, discount brokerage, life insurance, and banking
industries. They include investor behavior, customer satisfaction, service quality,
communications, Internet services, and financial-professional ratings.