Dalbar of Boston has announced the results of its 2000 year-end survey of financial service companies' websites. The survey, conducted quarterly, evaluates websites' functionality, how they assist web users, ease of navigation, quality of content and currency, accuracy and reliability of information, according to Dalbar.

Eleven mutual fund consumer websites received "Excellent," Dalbar's top recognition. These were Fidelity of Boston, Charles Schwab of San Francisco, Strong Investments of Menomonee Falls, Wis., Vanguard of Malvern, Pa., Invesco of Denver, GE Financial of Stamford, Conn., Montgomery Asset Management of San Francisco, Massachusetts Financial Services of Boston, Van Kampen Investment Advisory Corp. of Oakbrook Terrace, Ill., T. Rowe Price Associates of Baltimore, and Prudential Investments of Newark, N.J.

"In 2000, we observed an evolution from financial institutions' use of their websites as a simple advertising medium to an extension of their business models that enable their customers to receive the support they need online," said Louis S. Harvey, president of Dalbar, in a statement. This change of direction signals a change in the way institutions view their websites, which is less as a distribution channel and more as an efficient support channel for customers and prospects, Harvey said.

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