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Best Practices in the Financial Services Industry Announced for 2012

Corporate Insight, the leading provider of competitive intelligence and user experience research to the financial services industry, announced today the release of its 2012 Monitor Awards. The Gold, Silver and Bronze Monitor Awards recognize the best and most innovative financial services firms for their success in specific categories of the online user experience (e.g., account information, educational resources, transactional capabilities, advisor resources, etc.). For more than 10 years, Corporate Insight has presented these annual awards to firms in the annuity, banking, brokerage, credit card, mutual fund, and insurance industries. Using pre-defined, objective grading criteria, each industry-specific Monitor team grades every firm’s key online features, identifying those that provide the best features to their clients.

“Consumers continue to demand more from their financial institutions, particularly in terms of the online experience,” says Tim Ullrich, vice president of Monitor Services. “As the global economic landscape evolves and offerings like social media and mobile reshape customer expectations, it is vital for firms to ensure they don’t fall behind the pack. Corporate Insight’s Monitor Awards help financial institutions understand industry best practices and learn from them, improving the experience for their customers.”

Gold Monitor Awards are presented for site features that offer users a valuable service and strong usability. We would like to recognize the following 11 companies who received the highest number of Gold Monitor Awards in their respective industries in 2012:

  • Advisor Monitor Awards
    BlackRock
  • Annuity Monitor Awards
    Jackson National
    Transamerica
  • Bank Monitor Awards
    Bank of America
  • Credit Card Monitor Awards
    Chase
    CitiCards
    Discover

 

         

 

  • e-Monitor Awards (Online Brokerage)
    Fidelity
  • Life Insurance Monitor Awards
    AXA Equitable
  • Mutual Fund Monitor Awards
    Fidelity
  • Property & Casualty Monitor Awards
    Liberty Mutual

 

As part of its Monitor research services, Corporate Insight analysts use actual accounts at each financial institution covered, identifying improvements and trends as they occur in real time. The Monitor Awards are a culmination of a year’s worth of website tracking and user experience assessment. This ongoing research allows Corporate Insight to identify major industry trends and changes in the competitive landscape among more than 100 financial institutions.

2012 was a rebuilding year for many financial services firms. Several industry leaders completely revamped or overhauled the design of their websites while others implemented partial changes, focusing on specific tools or sections. American Century and AllianceBernstein revamped their public homepages to include improved information and navigation. The redesigned homepage at American Century reflects the growing awareness among firms that many investors are visiting sites on tablet devices like the iPad. The spacing on the new site allows for better readability on a smaller screen. Firms such as American Funds and Franklin Templeton focused on advisors, releasing new resources and streamlined navigation on their advisor websites.

Many financial institutions also introduced new website functionalities, tools, educational resources and marketing strategies throughout their sites. Fidelity, AXA Equitable and New York Life provide extensive educational resources and interactive, annuity-specific tools. Fidelity, in particular, offers several annuity videos and interactive tools, such as the new Income Strategy tool, Roth Conversion Planner, MGGI calculator and Savings Planner.

Another noticeable trend is the number of firms that increased their international-related offerings. Charles Schwab and Fidelity introduced and expanded, respectively, their global stock trading and research capabilities, while E*TRADE launched a separate foreign exchange trading platform. Card issuers like Citi, Chase and Bank of America began incorporating EMV chips into several of their credit card products, allowing for greater security and wider acceptance at international merchants.

“Because our research is compiled through personal interaction with each firm we track, we have the unique ability to analyze a financial services firm’s capabilities from the user’s perspective,” says Michael Ellison, president of Corporate Insight. “Corporate Insight provides its clients with analysis and insights into the user experience that allows them to better serve their clients and improve their competitive position in the marketplace.”

Additional information on Corporate Insight’s Monitor Awards is available at:

www.corporateinsight.com/monitorservices/monitor-awards.html

About Corporate Insight

Corporate Insight provides competitive intelligence and user experience research to the nation’s leading financial institutions. For more than two decades, the firm has tracked technological developments in the financial services industry, identifying best practices in online banking and investing, online insurance, mobile finance, active trading platforms, social media and other emerging areas. The firm helps its clients – including 70% of the financial services firms in the Fortune 500 – to remain at the forefront of industry trends and improve their competitive position.

Further information on Corporate Insight is available at www.corporateinsight.com/about-us.

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