Fidelity Investments' websites, Fidelity.com and AdvisorXpress.com,were ranked number one in a recent survey by Dalbar of Boston, a financial services research company.
The survey was conducted in December and assessed the success of mutual fund firms' websites in serving consumers and financial professionals.
For the survey, Dalbar reviewed what it deemed to be the mutual fund industry's top 25 websites in the last quarter of 2000, according to Dalbar.
Fidelity.com ranked number one in mutual fund websites for consumers while AdvisorXpress.com ranked number one in mutual fund websites for financial professionals.
Evaluations for the survey were based on four broad criteria: functionality of the website, usability of the site, quality of content and experience, said Charles Aronovici, a spokesperson for Dalbar.
Functionality measures the quality and range of capabilities provided to users and whether the website can answer all the questions that a user might have, said Aronovici. A site ccould earn a maximum of 35 points in functionality.
Usability measures the ease of entering and navigating the site, ease of locating important information and accessibility of help functions. A website can earn a maximum of 30 points in usability.
Content currency gauges the relevance, timeliness and quality of a site's content. A site could earn a maximum of 20 points for content currency.
Finally, experience measures the user's overall experience in visiting a site. When a user encounters inaccessible sites, system crashes, slow response times, and incomplete, inaccurate or failed links, points are deducted. A site could earn a maximum of 15 points for content currency.
Fidelity's websites received in "Excellent" designation for both websites or a combined total of between 80 and 100 points for each site.
"The results of the survey show that Fidelity is working very hard to understand the needs of their customers, both consumers and financial professionals," said Aronovici.
Fidelity has made "great strides in the last couple of years in building and maintaining websites that meet their constituents' needs," he said.
Fidelity Investments, Schwab Funds of San Francisco, Strong Investment Management of Menomonee Falls, Wis., Vanguard of Malvern, Pa. and Invesco Funds of Denver were the top five consumer websites for the fourth quarter of 2000.
AdvisorXpress.com, Fidelity's financial professional site, maintained a number one rank for both the third and fourth quarters. Fidelity Investments, AIM Management Group of Houston, Putnam Investments of Boston, Franklin Templeton Investments of San Mateo, Calif. and Oppenheimer Funds of New York were the top five financial professional websites for year end 2000.