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Rating:Who has the Best Intermediary Web Sites? Not Rated 4.0 Email Routing List Email & Route  Print Print
Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Who has the Best Intermediary Web Sites?

by: Sean Hanna, Editor in Chief

Asset managers are cutting back on cash they are laying out to develop Web sites for intermediaries but are spending more on other e-business efforts. They are also continuing to seek ways to develop support tools for their wholesalers while continuing to make basic improvements in Web-based services according to a white paper released today by Kasina.

Among the services they are focusing on are enhanced e-mail services and streamlined site registration.

The average e-business budget among kasina's "Top 10" firms was $3 million for 2003. The consulting firm expects that figure to increase slightly for 2004 as firms invest in e-mail services and tools to support their wholesalers.

"Though significant strides in function and user-friendliness have been made, intermediary Web sites remain a work in progress for most asset managers," stated Steven Miyao, chief executive officer at kasina. "Going forward, there is a need to further analyze what intermediaries want, what they'll use, and how the asset manager can achieve cost efficiencies through more targeted Web-based solutions. Developing robust support tools for wholesalers, and including the sales force in the strategy process, will be the key to future success."

Among the survey findings published in the whitepaper were:

  • 92 percent of the industry now provides intermediaries with access to at least some firm information prior to log-in, up from 49 percent in 2002. This information is generally designed to educate visitors on site features, and to ultimately encourage registration.

  • 72 percent of firms have put in place registration forms with five or fewer questions, greatly streamlining the sign-up process. Just 26 percent included simplified registration questionnaires in 2002.

  • The use of targeted e-mail has been expanded, with nearly 50 percent of sites now offering some type of subscription service. Thirty-nine percent of industry sites now allow intermediaries to sign-up for e-mailed market updates, compared to only 24 percent in 2002.

  • While 88 percent of intermediaries access their intranet daily, only 28 percent visit the intermediary Web site of an asset management firm on a daily basis.

  • Fifty-three percent of intermediaries feel that the Internet has had a positive effect on their relationship with asset management firms, with only 6 percent feeling that the impact has been negative (41 percent feel the impact has been neutral).

    Kasina also listed the firms that believes has the best intermediary Web sites. They are:

    Top 10 Intermediary Web Sites (alphabetically):
  • AIM Investments
  • American Funds
  • Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company
  • Franklin Templeton Investments
  • MainStay Funds
  • MFS Investment Management
  • One Group Investments
  • OppenheimerFunds
  • Putnam Investments
  • Russell

    Top 5 Intermediary Web Sites with Under $10 Billion in Assets Under Management (alphabetically):
  • Calvert
  • Phoenix Investment Partners, Ltd. the asset management subsidiary of The Phoenix Cos.
  • RS Investments
  • Thornburg Investment Management

    The top three firms, in order, in each of kasina's five evaluation categories:

  • MainStay Funds
  • One Group Investments
  • RS Investments

  • MFS Investment Management
  • MainStay Funds
  • Franklin Templeton Investments

  • Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company
  • MainStay Funds
  • Calvert

    Web Technology
  • Pioneer Investments
  • AIM Investments
  • One Group Investments

    Online Services
  • Putnam Investments
  • Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company
  • Franklin Templeton Investments

    The kasina study, "Intermediary Web Site Trends & Best Practices," is based on a survey of all Web sites targeted to financial intermediaries from U.S. asset management firms with over $1 billion in assets under management, a universe of 217 firms and can be downloaded from www.kasina.com/whitepapers/2003intermediary

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