How will the history books describe 2020? A year of change, a year of uncertainty, and perhaps a year of opportunity. The opportunity to connect with customers on a more human level. The opportunity to lead with transparency. And focus on delivering outstanding CX (customer experience) in extraordinary times.

So far, the asset management industry has not capitalized on that. For the past 3 years, our team has analyzed 60 of the largest Asset Management firms’ communications for clarity. This year, we also looked at crisis communications.

Websites remain harder to read than Moby Dick

Only two out of 60 firms communicate at levels understandable by the average consumer. This impacts CX (customer experience) negatively. Whether we look at COVID-19 specific content or more general website content, complexity is rife. And this erodes investor confidence, trust and CX.

Trust is lost through bad experiences. In the U.S., 17% of consumers will switch brands after just one bad experience. 59% after several. Even if these are brands they love. This is is according to PWC’s Experience is Everything report.

Asset management firms can create or lose trust with every experience they provide. From their website and initial investment consultations, to update bulletins and research. Communicating clearly with existing and potential investors is mission-critical for any firm. Yet, the research shows that the average firms’ websites remain harder to read than Moby Dick.

Other key findings include:

  • The average sentence length still at 5x the recommended level
  • 57 out of 60 firms overuse passive voice and are not clear on who needs to take the action
  • There was a slight reduction of complex word density in 2020
  • Overall, firms did not improve trust and CX in 2020

No mention of COVID-19 on 30% of websites sampled

The picture worsened when we analyzed crisis communications. 30% of asset management firms in the sample do not mention COVID-19 on their website. Leaving investors without easily accessible information about the impact of the pandemic on their funds.

This picture matches what FT Ignites Europe noted in June 2020. Many asset managers are missing an opportunity to help their clients through the crisis.

Mission-critical investor communications must be transparent

It’s disappointing that our 2020 findings show little change from previous years. We would have expected more organizations to focus on CX. It’s a key differentiator and business success factor, especially during the current pandemic.

Yet, firms continue to overuse jargon and complex language. These unclear communications can damage relationships. Each time a customer must contact their firm due to complex language, it has a negative impact.

The 2020 Asset Management Clarity Report is available for download now. Click here for your free copy.