Client account Access tops list of “must haves”; two out of three say quality of website affects where they do business; Top 5 Canadian Advisor sites named
NEW YORK , September 21, 2005 – Two out of three Canadian financial advisors say that the quality of an asset manager�s website affects whether or not they will choose to do business with that firm, according to a survey of more than 380 advisors released today by kasina, a leading U.S.-based financial services consulting firm, and Vancouver-based Credo Consulting.
Among the features most important to the advisors were �Client Account Access� (72% of those surveyed), �Market Commentaries� (56%), and �Pricing and Performance Information� (54%). At the other end of the spectrum, fewer than half those queried indicated they go to a manager�s website looking for sales tips.
The population surveyed represented a broad spectrum of Canadian financial advisors. Respondents indicated they spend an average of 14 hours a week online, including 4 hours researching mutual funds. Smaller advisors were more likely to be attracted to a firm by its website, according to the survey, with 77% of those in the $10 million in AUM and under category indicating this preference, compared to just 47% of those advisors with $30 million or more in AUM.
Top 5 Canadian Websites Named
In addition to the advisor survey, kasina and Credo identified and evaluated the websites of 24 leading Canadian asset managers, basing the analysis on the performance of the sites in five broad categories: branding, content, online services, usability, and Web technology. The following were named as providing the top advisor websites (listed alphabetically):
AGF Funds (www.agfadvisor.com)
AIM Trimark (www.advisor.aimtrimark.com)
Fidelity Canada (www.fidelity.ca)
Franklin Templeton Investments (www.franklintempleton.ca)
Talvest Mutual Funds (www.talvest.com)
�The advisor channel is increasingly important to the success of asset management firms. The firms that will succeed in leveraging the Web to grow their advisor business are those that are committed to providing a high level of online service as well as access to materials, account information, and support,� said Malachi Black, Senior Business Analyst at kasina. �The five firms we have identified in our survey all rate high in those areas.�
Interviews with e-business managers at the top Canadian sites revealed a number of interesting facts and themes:
60 percent of the firms surveyed spent $100,000-$500,000 annually on their advisor websites (excluding salaries); 20 percent spent $1-2 million
Just one in three firms saw year-over-year increases in the budgets for advisor sites.
Advisor sites are closely monitored by management, employing metrics that include asset growth and retention, transaction activity, and overall website usage.
Industry leaders leverage offline resources to drive advisor traffic to the web, including wholesaler visits, call centers, advertising, and direct mail.
The survey also identified a number of areas for improvement. For example, kasina and Credo noted that just 35 percent of the firms surveyed currently provide email subscription services, and only one in five facilitates online fund exchanges and transfers. On the positive side, 95 percent of Canadian intermediary sites provide content in both English and French.
�From the results of our study it is clear that Canadian asset management firms are committed to providing a robust Web presence for financial professionals,� said David Enns, president of Credo Consulting. �While the overall standard is quite high, advisor expectations are continually rising as well. This means that asset managers must continually review their web presence, monitor usage of the tools that are provided, and update content and features on a regular basis.�
kasina is a management consulting firm that is focused on helping financial services companies create intelligent relationships with their investors and intermediaries. By combining knowledge of distribution trends, technological innovations, and marketing strategies, kasina aids leading asset management firms with front-office efforts and publishes a regular schedule of cutting-edge industry research. kasina�s client list includes 18 of the 20 largest asset managers in the United States and leading firms in Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. www.kasina.com
About Credo Consulting
Credo Consulting Inc. is a research and consulting firm focused on providing solutions to Canadian asset managers on product development, distribution, and marketing strategies. Credo brings best practices and industry analysis from both the US and Canada to clients� boardrooms to help interpret and leverage industry trends in developing cutting edge business strategies. Established in 1998, Credo conducts market and industry research and consults on both strategic and tactical assignments across a broad range of financial services markets, business lines and product categories. The firm�s more than 50 clients include Canada�s leading asset managers and distributors that represent 90% of the assets under management in Canada. www.credoconsulting.ca.