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Wealth Managers’ websites lack depth and substantial value

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Wealth managers have taken great strides to transform their online presence in terms of web design and implementation of responsiveness, but many desktop websites targeted towards wealthy investors have been left behind in the push for mobile excellence.

These sites fail to take advantage of current technologies to offer a personalised, highly interactive and consistent online strategy.
 
These are key findings of the new report: ‘Websites for Wealth Management 2018 – How to transform static online presences into a digital dialogue’, for which the Swiss research company, MyPrivateBanking Research, analysed and ranked, for the ninth year, the desktop and mobile websites of 21 leading wealth managers worldwide.
 
“Desktop isn’t dead! With the push for mobile-first web presences, some wealth management desktop sites have been left to gather dust. Outdated content, static design, and a lack of advanced core features greatly reduces the usability of these sites,” says Onawa Lacewell, Senior Analyst of MyPrivateBanking. “However, many clients still use these portals regularly – and a flexible, interactive, and dynamic website that builds dialogue between client in bank is a must.”  

 
Top performers continue to enhance and evolve their websites for wealth management clients. MyPrivateBanking Research is impressed to find that the top performers continue to enhance and evolve their websites in an effort to keep pace with new technologies and the steadily rising bar of client expectations.
 
The top three performing wealth managers in the 2018 MyPrivateBanking report include two recurring players and an impressive leap in performance from a player with a previously average web presence: ABN AMRO maintain their top performance among the evaluated wealth managers, offering a wealth of resources for prospective and current clients, and commendable transparency on the bank’s services, fees, and investment strategy.
 
Second placed BNP Paribas is reaping the benefits of its digital transformation process and has jumped from 8th place in the 2016 report to 2nd place this year. The new online presence offers prospective and current clients pleasant and easy navigation on both the (domestic) desktop and online websites. The websites by DBS targeted to wealthy investors continue to be among the top 3 performers, displaying a great understanding of the bank’s regional market and a client-centric approach to content and available digital tools.
 
MyPrivateBanking sees considerable advances among the evaluated banks in relation to previous reports, particularly so in the areas of web design and user experience. For example, in the 2016 MyPrivateBanking evaluation only around half (52 per cent) of the desktop websites under evaluation had adequate ‘navigation, structure, and design’ while in this year’s evaluation this percentage rose to 75 per cent. This shows in the researcher’s view that wealth managers are catching up and showing initiative by creating websites that are intuitive and easy to navigate, but that can also make bold aesthetic statements and convey the luxury and exclusivity that characterise the segment. Nevertheless, challenges remain. Specifically, interactivity, transparency, and channel consistency continue to throw up roadblocks for many of the world’s top wealth managers and private banks.
 
“Most wealth management desktop and mobile websites provide an overall good user experience, but still face challenges in providing a deep, interactive, personalised, and comprehensive client experience via their online channels.” summarises Onawa Lacewell.
 
“The focus on design and responsiveness has created a superficial web presence that lacks depth and substantive value.” An example of this is that in the MyPrivateBanking, benchmarking the average scores for the criteria ‘navigation, structure and design’ and ‘content’ are significantly higher than that for ‘interactivity and social media’ for desktop websites.”


The two most important takeaways from this year’s evaluation in MyPrivateBanking’s assessment are that, firstly, wealth managers need to provide a holistic, comprehensive experience for prospective and current customers alike with a brand across touch points and channels, must be given priority over following (often fleeting) UX design trends.

 
And secondly, interactivity is the key to substantive customer experience. Banks seem to have understood the importance of an attractive website that is easy to navigate and offers a wealth of content, but they are falling behind when it comes to offering digital services and tools that provide depth and a rich customer experience. For example, less than a third of the evaluated wealth management websites (29 per cent) have interactive tools which aid financial education and investment.
 
“Online needs to be more than a display of information for customers to passively consume. Most of the evaluated wealth managers could do a lot more to provide substantive dynamic interaction to their customer experience rather than a static experience,” says Onawa Lacewell.” They could create a more engaging and unique customer experience by offerings live chats or chatbots; provide ways to both give and share feedback on the content of the website; or install tools that will help the brand know its customers better, such as investment profiles, risk assessments and goal setting questionnaires.”

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