Technology

EXCLUSIVE: ABN AMRO's Private Bank Retains Top Ranking For Desktop, Mobile Websites

Tom Burroughes Group Editor London 9 September 2014

EXCLUSIVE: ABN AMRO's Private Bank Retains Top Ranking For Desktop, Mobile Websites

The Netherlands-headquartered private bank has successfully defended its title for having the best mobile and desktop websites, an important market in this Internet era.

The private banking arm of ABN AMRO has successfully defended its status as having the best desktop and mobile sites this year, while in general mobile sites continue to lag in standards, this publication can exclusively report.

In the fifth annual global ranking of the websites of 40 wealth managers and private banks by Swiss research company MyPrivateBanking Research, the report, Websites for Wealth Management 2014 - Desktop and Mobile Sites: A Winning Combination, evaluates desktop and mobile websites side by side for the first time.

In general, the main players in the market are “on the right track with their desktop websites” but the story for mobile websites shows “major weaknesses”.

“The fact that only half of the wealth managers offer a mobile sibling of their desktop websites is alarming. Moreover, of those websites, the majority are simply a squeezed version of the desktop websites,” Carmela Melone, analyst at MyPrivateBanking said. “It becomes clear that wealth managers have not yet recognized that their mobile users have entirely different needs and preferences than users of conventional desktop websites, and they should be offered not only mobile apps, but also a mobile web presence that addresses these specific needs. One example is that mobile websites need to have a strong focus on contact options, allowing mobile users to easily get in touch with their wealth manager,” Melone said.

The findings are an example of how such Internet-driven forms of engagement with private banks are no longer regarded as optional extras but “must-haves” in such a sector where users expect to be able to obtain information and discuss affairs electronically, and from anywhere in the world.

Scores

Out of a possible maximum score of 83, ABN AMRO Private Banking was overall winner for desktop and mobile websites at 84 points, followed by Société Générale with 76 points. Coutts and Investec share third place with 75 points and Julius Baer follows in fifth with 70 points.

Looking at the ranking for mobile websites only, ABN AMRO claims the crown again, followed by Coutts and DBS, who share the second rank, and Société Générale comes next by a 1 point margin.

Looking only at the desktop website, ABN AMRO is once more the winner, with BMO as the runner-up and Investec coming in third.

There is “significant progress with regard to wealth management firms’ desktop websites compared to the 2013 report”, the organisation said. “Areas such as website navigation and expert content show particular improvement. In other areas, however, the results prove less promising: the provision of online information on fees and prices as well as on portfolio performance is still comparatively weak,” it said.

“Still, this year the average result of the desktop websites increased from 61 per cent to 64 per cent of maximum available points compared to last year’s evaluation,” it said.

“While mobile web users are becoming more and more accustomed to accessing the Internet via their smartphones, most private banks fail to offer a well-designed mobile website. On average, only 29 per cent of the total points for mobile websites have been achieved, which is partly due to the fact that only half of the wealth managers actually provide a mobile website (not to be confused with mobile apps) that is optimised for smartphone use,” the report continued.

The report urged the industry to integrate social media and communicate the same message across all digital touch-points. Among other recommendations, it said desktop sites should not just be shrunk to smartphone screen size because a good mobile website addresses different client needs. It said interactive features are vital to attract users.

The report looked at 48 criteria for the desktop websites and 24 criteria for the mobile websites. It analysed the following banks:

ABN AMRO, ANZ, Barclays, BBVA, Bessemer Trust, BMO, BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon, Charles Schwab, CIBC, Citibank, Commerzbank, Coutts, Credit Agricole, Credit Suisse, DBS Bank, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, HSBC, ING, Investec, JP Morgan, Julius Baer, KBL, Lloyds, Lombard Odier, Macquarie, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Northern Trust, Pictet, RBC, Santander, Société Générale, Standard Chartered, UBP, UBS, Vontobel, Wells Fargo, Westpac.

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