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Asset management websites not promoting trust

2018-06-14 01:00

98.5% of asset management companies' websites don't meet basic readability levels, according to VisibleThread's 2018 Website Clarity Index.

BALTIMORE, June 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- VisibleThread, the content optimization vendor, has released the results of its global clear language study of 69 asset management firms. This follows from the 2016 survey, which showed dismal readability scores across the industry. This year's results improved little in an industry where clarity in communication breeds trust.

Language clarity directly affects business efficiency. If visitors cannot understand a website or information documents, what does it say about an organization's transparency? And what assurance do clients have that internal helpline staff understand them either?

Research shows that the effort required to simplify content is minimal. Improving just one or two key metrics affects overall readability. The ripple effect of that is much-needed trust.

Trust in the financial services industry has stalled

The financial services sector took a knock on trust, says Edelman's 2018 Trust Barometer. Financial services organizations hold people's investments, their future, their possibilities, in the palm of their hands. It is therefore little wonder that people want to have faith in the guardians of their assets.

Increasingly, pressure to communicate simply and transparently is mounting from legislative bodies (MIFIIDII & KIID are two such examples).

Meanwhile, investors are consolidating their assets. Asset management firms are fighting harder for fewer clients.

Website Clarity Index metrics

VisibleThread analyzed up to 100 pages on each of the 69 websites for the following key metrics:

  • Readability -- How clear is the content?
  • Passive Language -- Active language speaks clearly. How many sentences are passive?
  • Long Sentences -- How many sentences are too long?
  • Word Complexity Density -- How many complex, hard-to-understand words are in the content?

Key findings

  • Only one of the 69 firms surveyed in 2018 had acceptable reading levels for web content. 98.5% of all firms didn't meet basic readability levels
  • Approximately 85% of those surveyed had unacceptable levels of passive voice. Of those that did do well in this regard, four firms had scores of 0%
  • Not one firm met recommended levels for long sentence use. 97% of the firms sampled used long-sentences at least 3x greater than recommended levels         
    • 66% were at 4x
    • 48.5% were at 5x
  • 10% of all firms achieved complex language density levels of less than 1 per 100. (These would typically be good scores compared to other industry samples. But financial jargon/terms may not be flagged by the plain language dictionary in the system.)

About VisibleThread

VisibleThread helps organizations govern content quality, embed plain language and simplify the user journey for their customers.

Source: VisibleThread

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