Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch Set Brokerage Platform Trends

Eric Stahler
Apr 1, 2015

The Broker Monitor team was busy this past February as both Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management revamped their public sites. Introduced only weeks apart, both new platforms shed their archaic designs for more contemporary looks. In addition to their sleeker appearances, the sites contain striking similarities that speak to larger trends within the brokerage industry, most notably their adoption of responsive design.

Topics: Brokerage

Is Anybody Out There? Aetna’s Facebook Customer Service in Action

Erika Fazekas
Mar 19, 2015

Social media has drastically enhanced the line of communication between consumers and corporations. The instantaneous nature of reaching out through Facebook has become commonplace, and many consumers have migrated away from calling toll-free lines or sending emails for rants, raves and inquiries. In order to meet communication trends, major healthcare providers such as Aetna have evolved by answering participant posts directly on their Facebook pages. However, the decision to interact with plan participants via Facebook can sometimes feel like a Pandora’s box, especially when posts feature disgruntled messages stemming from personal frustrations. 

Topics: Social Media

Slide Deck: Credit Card Product Update - 2014 Overview

Michelle Ammirati
Mar 17, 2015

The Credit Card Product Update slide deck examines new product releases from credit card carriers in our Credit Card Monitor coverage group.

Inside, we provide a rundown of the new products introduced on the firm’s websites during the 2014 year, and highlight their key features.

Topics: Credit Cards, Product Update

Announcing Corporate Insight's New Client Portal

Corporate Insight Staff
Mar 16, 2015

After many months of preparation and beta testing, Corporate Insight (CI) is pleased to announce the launch of our new private site, redesigned with our clients in mind. Featuring improved functionality, stronger navigation and more robust search and filters, our goal is to help you get the most value out of our research. 

Schwab Enters the Robo-Advisor Fight

Matthew Van Wagenen
Mar 12, 2015

The Classic Disrupter Plays Catch-Up

On Monday, Charles Schwab culminated a mysterious, months-long advertising campaign by unveiling Schwab Intelligent Portfolios – the firm’s first foray into the growing algorithm-based investing marketplace. With its digitally-managed portfolio of low-cost ETFs across a wide range of asset classes, Schwab has boldly promised that “Investing has Changed Forever.” This remains to be seen, as the firm joins the battle for market share against a host of innovative start-ups and established heavyweights poised to jump into the arena themselves.

Topics: Financial Advisors

February 2015 Thought Leadership Insights: The Current State of Currency

Erika Fazekas
Mar 11, 2015

February was wrought with valuation fluctuations in both the U.S. and overseas. In the past six months, turmoil has riddled the ruble; the euro declined to a nine-year low; the franc dropped its euro cap; and the yen slid downward, while the dollar crept upward. In the last month many asset management firms addressed the investing implications of currency changes, but here we highlight five standout articles discussing currency volatility:

Topics: Fund Thought Leadership Insights

Healthcare Firms Respond to Cyber Attacks

Jose Santana
Mar 10, 2015

With cyber attacks making headlines across all sectors in 2014, perhaps few industries have as much to lose from a customer privacy perspective as health care, and at the end of January, Anthem became the first high profile victim of 2015. Hackers obtained data on tens of millions of current and former Anthem customers in a sophisticated attack compromising names, birthdates, Social Security Numbers, mailing addresses, usernames and passwords. According to IDC Health Insights, by 2015, 50% of healthcare organizations will have experienced between one and five cyber attacks in the previous 12 months, with one out of three attacks deemed successful. In turn, these attacks will require healthcare organizations to invest in highly expensive security strategies to safeguard their member’s pertinent information.

Topics: Cyber Security, Healthcare

Speaking Of…Vanguard’s Recent Voice Verification System

Eric Stahler
Mar 9, 2015

In today’s business world, all CEOs fear seeing their company’s name in the headlines as a victim in the latest cyber-attack. Financial firms nationwide are constantly searching for new ways to prevent intruders from infiltrating their systems. In the past year, several firms within Corporate Insight’s e-Monitor group introduced new security features. UBS and Vanguard, for example, both introduced security PIN services, and Schwab rolled out a new Change Website Timeout feature that triggers an automatic logout. Most recently, Vanguard made headlines when it unrolled a new biometric Voice Verification system. Although voice verification technology has become increasingly popular across many industries, Vanguard is the first firm within the e-Monitor coverage group to add this type of authentication tool to its security arsenal.

Topics: Cyber Security, Brokerage

2014 Gold Monitor Award Winners Recap: Full Slide Deck Archive

Joy Pi
Mar 5, 2015

Corporate Insight's 2014 Monitor Awards were released in early February, recognizing financial services firms for excellence in the online user experience they offer prospects, clients and advisors. Over the past month, we released a series of slide decks highlighting the firms that received Gold Monitor Awards across nine industry segments within financial services. 

The slide decks highlight the Gold Monitor Award winning firms in each category and describe why their digital offerings were best in class. Use the links below to view each slide deck:

Topics: 2014 Gold Monitor Awards

February 2015 Trends & Highlights: Contests, Super Bowl Ads and Biometrics

Gabriella Huddart
Mar 4, 2015


  • Two Public Brokerage Sites Receive a Makeover – Both Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management revamped their public sites to feature tiled images, responsive design and much more contemporary appearances. While Morgan Stanley’s revamped site highlights the firm’s employees and proprietary research, the Merrill Lynch public site provides unique customization options and assessments that help users find education and research based on their individual needs and interests. Both sites represent clear departures from their antiquated predecessors, and are hopefully indicative of similar changes to come in the full-service brokerage space.
  • Contests and Giveaways Take Center Stage – Four firms across all our Monitor groups announced new contests and campaigns in February. The Principal Financial is currently promoting its annual Big Ten contest, giving public site users a chance to win a trip for two to the Big Ten Men’s Championship basketball game in Chicago on March 15. TD Bank is promoting a giveaway that provides new customers who open checking and savings accounts and enroll in online banking with a Fitbit FLEX through March 7. U.S. Bank is challenging customers to complete financial learning modules for entry in a contest which will award up to $60,000 in total prizes. Finally, USAA offered a #YourFutureYou social media contest which ran from February 2-15 and encouraged users to share up to six photographs with captions describing how they envision their future for the chance to win a $5,000 grand prize or one of two $200 prizes. Whether monetarily rewarding or simply entertaining, contests and social media campaigns are excellent means by which to encourage client engagement and brand loyalty.
  • Adding to the Toolbox – Our Mutual Fund Advisor Monitor reviewed three new tools across the firms in its coverage group this week. First, iShares released “Are ETFs Right for You?” – a rich media tool that employs a five-part questionnaire in order to gauge investors’ investing preferences and ultimately provide personalized information about the advantages of investing in ETFs. Second, OppenheimerFunds added a new Historical Prices module that functions as a fund comparison tool, assessing up to five funds at a time with results in both graph and chart format. Finally, Fidelity released a new Sector Investigator tool that allows advisors to test hypothetical assumptions against the phases of the U.S. business cycle/

Topics: Trends and Highlights

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