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Rating:kasina Pens a How-To Guide for Web 2.0 Not Rated 2.3 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Wednesday, December 19, 2007

kasina Pens a How-To Guide for Web 2.0

by: Erin Kello

New kasina research shows that fund firms are not taking full advantage of Web 2.0 applications. The new white paper entitled The Asset Manager’s Guide to Web 2.0 is a how-to guide for fund firms dealing with the strategic and practical challenges of working with blogs, wikis, and mashups.

Asset management firms confronted with the challenge of implementing Web 2.0 on their Web sites now have a new roadmap providing analysis and guidance for developing next generation Web tools. “The Asset Manager’s Guide to Web 2.0”, published today by kasina, a leading management consultant for the financial services industry, is a how-to resource for firms grappling with the strategic and practical challenges of working with blogs, wikis, and mashups.

“We have seen tremendous conceptual interest in Web 2.0 from asset managers, but very little in the way of implementation,” said Lindsay Geimer, a consultant at kasina and a principal author of the guide. “There is a lot of fear out there when it comes to managing user-contributed content.”

In a review of more than 100 asset manager Web sites, kasina found that:

* Only three are currently using blogs in any capacity for an external audience, and none are using blogs on their advisor sites.

* None incorporate Wikis or any type of social network into their sites.

* RSS feeds, podcasts, Webcasts and other types of content syndication have seen limited adoption.

* Only a few asset managers are working on using mashups to display information on their sites.

“From a compliance standpoint, no one is doing much yet because they don't see their competitors doing anything,” said Geimer. “Firms seem to be in a wait-and-see mode where no one wants to be the first to take the plunge.”

Although many asset managers might prefer to ignore Web 2.0, it’s already too late, as dynamic, community-oriented consumer Web sites have effectively changed the expectations of both investors and advisors, says kasina. As user experiences continue to diverge – with non-financial sites taking advantage of the ability to build interactive communities and financial sites continuing to offer a relatively static experience – the pressure on asset managers to add Web 2.0 features will only increase.

“Asset managers are in a bind. The compliance challenges aren’t just paranoia; they’re real. But if their advisors can’t find the experience they want on the asset manager’s Web site, they will to start to migrate elsewhere,” said Geimer.

The kasina report notes that both Morningstar and Advisormax are actively developing Web 2.0 applications, and that at least one fund group targeting Generation X and Y investors has created a MySpace page and is collecting “friends” through the site.

Start with the Intranet

To get comfortable managing the potential compliance and technology issues, kasina recommends that firms initially look to their own Intranets as test beds for Web 2.0 solutions. The Asset Manager’s Guide discusses a number of potential benefits to employing user-driven technologies, including more formalized knowledge sharing (through blogs and/or Wikis), the creation of consolidated communications forums for select groups within the firm or the firm as a whole (Wikis), and enhanced data presentation (Mashups), all of which can be tested on Intranet sites before they are made available to the public.

With regard to blogs, kasina sees two compelling initial opportunities for internal communication: Wholesaler Blogs and Market Research Blogs. The Wholesaler Blog could be used to facilitate communication between sales management and wholesalers in a highly interactive forum. The Market Research Blog could be designed as a forum for aggregating and commenting on relevant news stories, as well as for current research.

Wikis allow anyone who meets a required access or permission level to add, delete, or change content on a site. While there are currently no external Wiki applications in the asset manager world, the kasina guide envisions how the technology might be applied in the near future. In particular, the firm suggests adding a level of interactivity to the “Tools” portion of the asset manager’s Website, allowing advisor comments and ratings.

Mashups combine two or more Web applications into a single hybrid tool that leverages the functionality of both. The only mashup currently in use by an asset manager combines cartographic data with real estate information to form a hybrid map, which is generally non-controversial. But according to kasina, a more compelling (and still hypothetical) use would be in creating enhanced product profiles, mapping geographies for portfolio holdings and incorporating news feeds and market information.

“From a user perspective, the benefits of Web 2.0 are obvious and compelling, and this will eventually force the hands of the asset managers. The firms that solve the challenges first will have created a meaningful competitive advantage,” Geimer said.  

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