kasina Study: Asset Managers Differ in View of Web’s Role in Supporting Institutional Business

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Some emphasize marketing and new business, others focus on providing services for existing clients; new kasina study names Top 10 Institutional Websites

NEW YORK, April 05, 2006 – Faced with greater competition for fewer assets, the proliferation of new and alternative investment products such as hedge funds, and an increasingly influential investment consulting industry, asset management firms must start to more effectively leverage Web-based content to attract and service institutional clients, according to a report released today by kasina, a leading consultant to the asset management industry.

In its most recent analysis of the institutional asset management websites, �Meeting Institutional Investors� Needs Online,� kasina evaluated the online presence of 30 asset management firms with over $1.5 trillion in assets under management, analyzing factors that included Online Services, Content, Usability, Branding, and Web Technology. Based on this analysis and interviews with both asset management firms and institutional investors, kasina identified current industry best practices and named the Top 10 Institutional Investor Web sites for 2006.

The Top 10 Institutional Investor Web Sites for 2006 are (in alphabetical order):

  • Barclays Global Investors

  • Capital Guardian

  • Fidelity Management Trust Company

  • Franklin Templeton Investments

  • GE Asset Management

  • Goldman Sachs Asset Management

  • JP Morgan Asset Management

  • Morgan Stanley

  • Russell Investments

  • State Street Global Advisors

  • Emerging Trends, Best Practices

The kasina report identifies a number of emerging trends and best practices in institutional asset management Web sites. The authors note that since the Web is often the first place of contact for potential clients and a seemingly unavoidable tool in today�s asset management industry, the lack of an institutional investor Web site can hinder a firm�s ability to bring in prospective clients, no matter how established they may be in the institutional investor business. Special attention should be paid to the needs of consultants, an influential constituency. For existing clients, site usage can be encouraged by providing access to proprietary account information and tailored research reports.

�In the institutional asset management space, a firm�s size, resources, client base and core audience will ultimately determine how valuable institutional Web sites will be in supporting the online needs of investors,� says Sean Carroll, a Consultant at kasina and co-author of the study. �However, whether its purpose is to attract new investors or to retain existing ones, firms generally agree that the institutional investor Web site, if designed correctly, is a cost-effective way to promote firm brand and communicate important product and service messages.�

Using over 100 data points in quantitative evaluations and qualitative scenario testing, the kasina report assesses a broad range of Website elements, including:

  • Branding – Web sites must adequately promote and project firm brand and communicate important product and service messages in a highly accessible manner.

  • Content – Sufficient information about the firm�s products, services, and people must be provided to assist institutional investors in manger searches.

  • Online Services – Industry leaders provides easy access to account balances, performance, online statements, newsletters and e-mail alerts.

  • Usability – Sites must be easy to navigate.

  • Web Technology – Technology, such as program demos and audio/video web casts, must be used effectively to offer value-added features and functions to users.

The full kasina report �Meeting Institutional Investors� Needs Online,� is available for purchase at: www.kasina.com.

About kasina

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. An overview of services offered by kasina is available at www.kasina.com.