kasina Report Names Top 10 European Intermediary Web sites; Firm Finds Improvement, Notes Trends Related to Budget, Features, and Advisor Opinion

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– Firms Still Investing Despite Economic Plight; Managers Concerned with Low Adoption; Advisors Voice Frustrations with Sites –

NEW YORK CITY, (November 4, 2002) – kasina, an e-business strategy consulting firm for the financial services industry, today announced the release of its newest white paper, “European Intermediary Web site Trends and Best Practices.” Along with offering strategic analysis and insight regarding current and future developments impacting intermediary Web sites in Europe, the report also identifies and reviews the “Top 10” European intermediary sites.

Trends From “European Intermediary Web site Trends and Best Practices”:

  • On average, a Top 10 intermediary site has a budget of �310,000 and has 9 people involved with handling the operations and maintenance of intermediary Web initiatives.
  • Intermediary budgets for the Top 10 intermediary sites ranged from under �100,000 to as much as �1,000,000, and intermediary Web teams ranged from two individuals to 36.
  • Usage numbers for the Top 10 intermediary sites fell below expectations with the number of registered users ranging from 1,000 to 3,500, with an average of 2,000.
  • German advisors bookmark on average nearly twice as many mutual fund sites as French and English advisors, and advisors in the UK visited the least number of different mutual fund company Web sites over the course of a month.
  • Low usage of Web sites has sparked interest in alternative content delivery models, including syndicating content to advisor intranets and offering customizable e-mail alerts.
  • Site usability plays a major role in whether advisors regard asset management Web sites favorably, and many advisors have voiced frustration with the usability of intermediary sites – too cluttered with extraneous information, too confusing, or contains too many layers of data to get to what they want.
  • When asked what they would like to see on asset management Web sites that is not found presently, advisors primarily requested tools for comparing different funds.
  • Managers at the Top 10 sites see portfolio analysis and monitoring tools, asset allocation/hypotheticals, and personalization/customization.as being the most important Web technologies for the next twelve months.

Statistical Comparisons Between the Top 10 Sites and the Rest of the Industry From “European Intermediary Web site Trends and Best Practices”:

  • While 90 percent of the Top 10 sites allow advisors to view account balances, only 37 percent of the overall industry allow this basic feature.
  • While only half of the Top 10 sites allow advisors to view recent account transactions and 20 percent allow intermediaries to make purchases or perform exchanges/transfers online, even less sites across the industry allow such functionality – 21 percent of the industry allows viewing of recent transactions and 7 percent allow purchases or exchanges/transfers online
    Seven of the Top 10 offer e-prospectuses, but only 53 percent of the industry offers this content.
  • Seven out of the Top 10 sites allow advisors to download account applications whereas only two percent of the industry offers this service online.
  • Ninety percent of the Top 10 firms offer editable presentations and proposals for sales and marketing efforts, as compared to 57 percent of the industry as a whole.
  • Only 20 percent of the Top 10 sites offer customization features, which still exceeds the 14 percent of the overall industry that has implemented customization features.

Available for purchase at www.kasina.com/whitepapers/eurointsites, the report evaluates intermediary sites based on five categories: branding, content, online services, usability and Web technology. Major sections of the report include an analysis of the state of the industry, a description of each of the top Web sites with key features highlighted, detailed findings from interviews with financial advisors, results of the survey of the e-business managers from the top sites, and suggested improvement strategies.

“In order to maximize the usage of intermediary sites, firms need to increase the interactivity and flexibility of the key tools that guide advisors through each stage of the selling process,” said Steven Miyao, chief executive officer of kasina. “The report offers an analysis of the current state of European intermediary sites and forecasts the technology trends that will be instrumental in fulfilling the preferences of financial advisors.”

Top 10 Intermediary Web sites (alphabetically):

  • COMINVEST Asset Management GmbH, ADIG-Investment Fonds
  • Fidelity France
  • Fidelity Investment Services GmBH
  • Fidelity Investments (UK)
  • Frankfurter Fondsbank
  • Investec Asset Management
  • JPMorgan Fleming Asset Management
  • Pioneer Investments
  • Schroders