NEW YORK--()--Corporate Insight, a leading provider of competitive intelligence and user experience research to financial institutions, announced today the release of its 2011 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., website navigation, educational resources, account information, etc.). For more than a decade, Corporate Insight has presented these annual awards to firms in several financial services segments, including annuity, banking, brokerage, credit card and mutual funds. Using our proprietary grading criteria and Audit benchmarking software, each segment-specific Monitor team objectively grades every firm’s key online features in order to recognize leaders and innovators across the financial services industry.
“This is a valuable service to our clients because it provides them with competitive intelligence and insights into the user experience that no other firm can match.”
“To build a best-in-class experience, it’s crucial for financial institutions to have clear benchmarks to surpass. Our Monitor Awards provide those benchmarks,” says Tim Ullrich, vice president of Monitor Services. “As firms become more innovative, incorporating new offerings such as mobile into the overall customer experience, we continue to update our grading criteria to truly reflect the industry’s best practices.”
Gold Monitor Awards are presented for site features that offer users an exceptionally valuable and comprehensive service in a user-friendly, well-designed interface. We would like to recognize the following ten companies who received the highest number of Gold Monitor Awards in their respective industry segment in 2011:
Advisor Monitor Awards
Annuity Monitor Awards
Bank Monitor Awards
Bank of America
Credit Card Monitor Awards
e-Monitor Awards (Online Brokerage)
Mutual Fund Monitor Awards
As part of our Monitor research services, Corporate Insight analysts use actual accounts at each financial institution they track to identify innovations and trends as they occur in real time. The Monitor Awards represent the culmination of a year’s worth of website tracking and user experience assessment. This ongoing research allows us to identify major industry trends and changes in the competitive landscape among the more than 100 financial institutions we track.
The past year proved to be another period of rebuilding for asset management firms. Industry leaders upgraded their websites and released a number of new tools and calculators to encourage clients and prospects to stay invested as the economy rebounded. Mutual fund firms released 25 advisor-targeted tools and eight retail investor-focused tools that addressed a wide range of issues, including college savings, portfolio building and fund performance. Putnam was the only firm to completely revamp its advisor site in 2011, although BlackRock and Lord Abbett also made substantial updates to their advisor homepages and main menu systems. American Funds and T. Rowe Price revamped their retail client private sites, while Legg Mason and Dreyfus both overhauled their public websites.
Homepage redesign continued to be a theme for the credit card industry, as American Express, Citi Cards and Discover revealed new public layouts, streamlining design and navigational capabilities. Citi Cards made improvements to its authenticated customer site, focusing on navigation and functionality. Chase also improved its private site, introducing a new homepage for clients. Along with new site designs, several firms expanded their marketing and promotional efforts in the social media space in 2011. American Express, Citi Cards and Discover all launched innovative programs to engage customers on third-party sites like Facebook and Foursquare.
2011 saw brokerage firms enhance their trading capabilities, expand the research and tools offered, and introduce new mobile applications. Merrill Lynch, RBC and UBS launched new research sections, while Charles Schwab, E*TRADE Financial, Fidelity, Scottrade and Zecco increased the amount of product-specific research available. Along with research content, seven firms added new screeners and tools. Several firms extended their mobile apps, offering apps for additional platforms or introducing mobile apps for the first time.
“Corporate Insight has the unique ability to analyze a financial services firm’s capabilities from the user perspective,” says Michael Ellison, president of Corporate Insight. “This is a valuable service to our clients because it provides them with competitive intelligence and insights into the user experience that no other firm can match.”
About Corporate Insight
Corporate Insight provides competitive intelligence and user experience research to the nation’s leading financial institutions. For 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 stay on top of industry trends and improve their competitive position.
Further information on Corporate Insight is available at www.corporateinsight.com/about-us.