Asset managers need to improve communication

Easily understood and plain language content is key for asset management firms who want to increase their transparency and improve customer service, according to the VisibleThread Website Clarity Index, which scanned 69 websites of asset managers and measured their clarity across four dimensions: readability, passive language, long sentences, and word complexity density.

Based on these criteria, it found that the average readability for all websites was 36.22, with scores of 60 or higher considered ideal. Passive language was used on average by 11 per cent across all sites, while the content was “unnecessarily wordy” in the case of one quarter of all the surveyed websites.

Additionally, complex language density averaged 2.29, which was deemed a good score for an industry average.

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The study also recognised the leaders who scored pretty well across different criteria. These included:

  • Putnam Investments, which ranked first for readability and long-sentence measures,
  • Boston Partners, which was a newcomer to the study, and ranked second overall,
  • Vanguard Asset Management, which moved into the top five rankings in 2018,
  • J. Safra Sarasin, which also moved up to the top five, and saw its content perform well across all key areas.

At the same time, BMO Global Asset Management moved up 49 places to rank 20th overall, BNY Mellon Cash Investment Strategies and Eurizon Capital improved 47 and 39, respectively and Nomura Asset Management managed to improve its rank by 38 places.

On the other hand, the study also named those who were “falling fast” in the rankings by large measures, which included AQR Capital Management, which fell 31 places to rank 52 due to its heavy use of long sentences and complex words.

Following this, Amundi, Halaba Invest, Nordea Asset Management and Wellington Management all fell by more than 20 places in the rankings.

Six asset managers who were qualified as having “room for improvement,” according to the study, were:

  • Standard Life Investment, which ranked last,
  • Mellon Capital Management, which came second to last this year and fell four ranks overall,
  • Affiliated Managers Group, which ranked 68th overall, with content on this site being rated as “very poor” due to its readability and long sentences,
  • Legal and General Investment Management, which dropped 19 places and ranked last for passive voice,
  • Santander Asset Management, which ranked 64th in the overall rankings.

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