Asset manager websites ‘not keeping up with current trends’


While various types of technology continue to be a resource for advisors, many advisors say asset management websites are not one of them.

Results released Thursday from a J.D. Power survey of 2,500 financial advisors found that one-fourth of the advisors said asset management websites weren’t meeting their basic needs.

Craig Martin, executive managing director and head of wealth and lending intelligence at J.D. Power, cited three key criteria that fund company websites need to meet to deliver an exceptional digital experience. “Websites need to be foundationally sound from a design and usability standpoint, information needs to be easily accessible, and they must effectively deliver clear, valuable information and insights,” he said in a release.

“The business effects of these shortfalls are already being felt and will only increase as digital becomes more critical for advisor engagement,” Martin added.

Marianna Goldenberg, founder and CEO of Curo Wealth Management, said many of the websites she’s visited are very clunky and not user-friendly.

“You have to be living in today’s world because they’re not keeping up with current trends,” she said.

Goldenberg said she can see if a website is using a generic template, which isn’t very helpful to the consumer.

“If you use words like ‘customized approach’ or ‘time-based investment strategies,’ it’s jargon,” she said. “Regular consumers are not going to get it, and what does it really mean?”

The J.D. Power study found that digital experience is directly linked to future investments. More than 58% of the advisors surveyed said they are “extremely likely” to invest new assets with a firm in the next three months when its asset management website delivers on the three key criteria.

Meanwhile, more than 27% of advisors say the websites they use don’t meet the basic criteria they expect. This includes presenting information in an organized manner, meeting expectations for brand appearance, and the website’s performance when it comes to speed and responsiveness.

The study found that only 17% of advisors say asset management websites are consistent in delivering all three criteria.

Goldenberg says that when it comes to their own websites, financial advisors should have a few elements that will help keep potential clients engaged.

“The important part is when you look at the website, and we’ve changed that a bit a lot lately, is to see who we are and why they’re on the website,” she said, adding that having a tagline that’s easy to understand is also helpful.

Other elements that make navigating websites helpful, Goldberg said, include having a section that includes photos and services the firm offers and being able to get information in a short amount of time.

J.D. Power’s U.S. Advisor Online Experience Study evaluates advisor interaction with asset manager websites based on four factors: speed; information/content; visual appeal; and navigation. The study was fielded from May through August.

[More: 7 tips for improving RIA websites]

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