DALBAR WebMonitor Publishes Top Web Sites in Financial Services

Fidelity Enjoys a View from the Top for the 7th Time, Allstate Financial Leaps onto the Scene with a Number One Debut

(Boston, MA-March 21, 2003) Defining excellence in Mutual Fund Consumer Sites, Fidelity attained the coveted number one spot for the 7th time, while INVESCO, STRONG, AIM, and American Century led the charge to round out the top Five “Excellent” sites. Meanwhile, AIM, OppenheimerFunds, Putnam, Franklin Templeton, and INVESCO held top honors as “Excellent” sites for Mutual Fund Financial Professionals. Most of the top scoring Mutual Fund sites can attribute their high ranks to their keen awareness of consumers’ diverse online needs, which prompted them to redesign their sites to become more streamlined, personalized, and navigable.

Among Life Insurance and Annuity sites, Fidelity, New York Life Insurance, TIAA CREF, Hartford Life, Prudential Financial Transamerica, and GE Financial were the only Consumer sites to receive DALBAR’s “Excellent” designation. Allstate Financial made a stunning debut among Dalbar’s ranked sites as the number one Financial Professional site. Fidelity, Hartford, and Pacific Life Insurance were the only other Life Insurance & Annuity site to rate “Excellent” for Financial Professionals.

DALBAR’s WebMonitor tracks daily innovations in usability, functionality, and content on more than 200 Mutual Fund and Life Insurance & Annuity firms and identifies the industry’s most outstanding sites. On a quarterly basis, DALBAR evaluates Mutual Fund web sites and Life Insurance & Annuity sites and groups its criteria into four categories:

Function, the quality and range of capabilities provided to financial professionals and consumers

  • Usability, the ease of entering and navigating the site, ability to locate important information and accessibility of help functions.
  • Content Currency, the ability to meet standards of relevance, timliness, and quality.
  • Consistency, the ability to keep a site consistent in image, transitioning, and content.

In addition to evaluating the above mentioned criteria, DALBAR also tracks the issues and topics that prevail in market outlooks and commentaries on Web sites from quarter to quarter. Trends in Quarter Four 2002 predominately focused upon the continued lack of investor confidence, and the steps that financial services companies took to regain investor trust and motivate financial professionals in tenuous times.

The complete WebMonitor Mutual Fund and Life Insurance / Annuity quarterly updates for Quarter Four 2002, containing the rankings of each respective channel’s top 25 sites are available from Dalbar at WebMonitor Quarterly Rankings 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, DALBARdevelops 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.