– Handful of Firms Offer Effective Separate Account Sites; AIM, John Hancock, Munder, Phoenix, & Putnam Top the List –
NEW YORK CITY, (October 16, 2002) – kasina, an e-business strategy consulting firm for the financial services industry, today announced the release of its newest whitepaper, “Separately Managed Accounts: Servicing Intermediaries Online.” The report evaluates 30 separate account sites for advisors, identifies 12 finalists, and names the Top 5 advisor Web sites for separate accounts while offering a general industry analysis that explores best practices and identifies areas that need improvement.
The study finds that there is an enormous gap in quality between the 12 sites that were identified as finalists and the rest of the industry. For instance, each of the 12 finalist sites offer information about their separate account strategies to advisors, whereas only 42 percent of their non-finalist counterparts provide the same information. Also, 91 percent of the finalists allow advisors to surf without bouncing back and forth between “advisor” and “retail” sites, compared to only 36 percent of the non-finalists. Lastly, only 17 percent of non-finalists disclosed buy/sell decisions online, which is well short of the 64 percent of the top 12 sites that provide this information.
“While advisors are the dominant players in separate account distribution, the majority of asset management firms have yet to provide a substantive online offering to educate these intermediaries about the separate account industry, their offerings, and their firms,” said Steven Miyao, chief executive officer (CEO) of kasina. “Of the 400-plus asset management firms vying for separate account business, only 30 offer a dedicated online offering for separate account advisors, and most of those are still in their nascent stages.”
Available immediately at www.kasina.com, the report is based on five evaluation categories: branding, content, online services, usability and Web technology. The evaluation methodology also included a survey of financial advisors, interviews with finalist companies, and detailed a qualitative review of each finalist’s Web site. The top five sites are, in alphabetical order, AIM Private Asset Management, John Hancock, Munder Capital, Phoenix Investment Partners, and Putnam Investments. The 12 finalists are, in alphabetical order, AIM Private Asset Management, Alliance Capital, Brandes Investment Partners, Delaware Investments, Federated Investors, Frank Russell Company, John Hancock, Lord Abbett, Munder Capital, Phoenix Investment Partners, Putnam Investments and Strong Funds.
Despite their clear superiority over the rest of the industry, the finalist sites still have room for improvement when servicing separate account advisors. For example, while many finalists provide valuable e-mail alerts, none allowed advisors to choose the format of e-mails. Also, only 36 percent of the finalists provided prospecting letters, half of which were not editable. Additionally, a full 55 percent did not include any information on the difference between separate accounts and other financial products.
“As minimums drop from $1 million to $100,000 and below, the number of asset management firms and advisors entering the separate account market has exploded, making an already confusing market even more muddled,” said Lee Kowarski, kasina consultant. “Considering that the Web offers managers a medium in which they can reach a large number of advisors at relatively low cost, we expect to see more firms embracing it as a core distribution strategy.”