A Vision for
Asset Management

A Vision for
Asset Management

The world of traditional asset management is changing rapidly with the increasing prevalence of robo-advisors, DIY investors, and low-cost products. As such, our client, one of the largest asset management firms in the world, became nervous about losing relevance in this new landscape. To prevent that from happening, we crafted a research and strategy project to inform future design decisions and keep them on top.



John Payne, Lin Mei


Staying on top

Staying on top

Our goal was to help our client decide how and to what degree they should evolve with the changing asset management landscape in order to maintain their presence as an industry leading fund provider. Through uncovering industry trends and the changing needs of our client's user base, we were able to make recommendations on how to evolve our client's website and digital tools to achieve this goal. 


Trend analysis and user research

Trend analysis and user research

We needed to gain an understanding of the current and future state of the asset management industry, as well as business goals and challenges. To help us get these answers, we conducted extensive secondary research as well as hour-long stakeholder and subject matter expert interviews. These efforts culminated in a trend analysis detailing industry insights as well as opportunity areas to explore for all future design work.


Next, we took our initial assumptions and validated them with user research. Through our initial research, we determined that the primary users of our client's products and services are professional investors, mainly financial advisors, wealth managers, and financial planners. Personal investors who utilize the services of professional investors are considered indirect users of our clients products and services. And to a lesser degree, our client's user base also includes "DIY" personal investors, who invest independently, without the help of financial advisors. 

We conducted small-sample, qualitative design research through hour-long user interviews with 15 professional investors and 5 personal investors. Specifically, we wanted to uncover their motivations, needs, behaviors, and pain points in relation to their experiences with fund provider products and services. Our findings would help us identify ways our client could empower investors with innovative products that would either help them provide more value to their clients (in the case of professional investors), or make investing easier for themselves (in the case of DIY investors).


Investor insights

Investor insights

We captured the most interesting findings from our interviews and conducted extensive affinity mapping across both user groups to reveal larger themes around investor workflows, preferred tools and client-advisor relationships. Paired with audits of our client's site and those of competitors, these were the insights that emerged:

  1. Fund providers need to align their products to reflect market changes and new consumer interests by categorizing them accordingly.

  2. Fund providers need to assist professional investors in the thing that makes them most valuable: the trusted client relationship.

  3. Professional investors either work autonomously or as part of larger investment teams, in which they take on different roles and use fund provider sites in different ways.

  4. Investors are embracing social media as a way to make better investment decisions and seek support in times of need.

  5. Investors are often confused by the lack of standardization of certain fund information across the industry.

  6. Investors need seamless integration of fund provider data and content with the other platforms and software they use.

  7. Fund providers need to equip financial advisors with more specific product details and context around those details that they can’t get from independent research tools.

  8. Professional investors need more than product data to stay ahead in their field; they need access to fund manager information, as well as objective macro and global outlook commentary.

Key opportunities

Key opportunities

Our research and insights indicated areas where our client could improve their overall business strategy as well as the product experience of their website and digital tools. We identified both immediately actionable and broader opportunity areas for our client:


Implement a robust search and navigation functionality to filter products based on new consumer interests and trending sectors.


Cater site login and content to the various roles, working styles and team structures of professional investors.


Work with the other fund providers to build an industry standard for how investment data surfaces across the market.


As independent sites are better for number crunching and data comparisons, focus content on investment philosophies (the how and why).


Enhance client communications with more interactive, dynamic data to help clients understand changes to their investments.


Tap into social media feeds for live updates, influencer opinions and niche industry expertise.


Seamlessly integrate product data with popular third party platforms and software to gain exposure in the market.


Prioritize macro and global commentary over less useful, marketing-driven information such as product commentary.


Translating the research into an actionable tool

Translating the research into an actionable tool

We created archetype and modifier cards based on our research to serve as a modular tool to help our client generate and evaluate future ideas. Each archetype serves as a generalization representing the drivers, behaviors and attitudes of a segment of potential fund provider site users. This tool will help ensure that future products and site improvements address user needs.

Our research revealed five archetypes, two for professional investors and three for personal investor archetypes.

Advising team

The backs of the archetype cards include information about each user group such as their workflow, pain points, and reliance on fund provider sites.


Modifier cards can be layered on top of the user archetype to add contextual, attitudinal and behavioral attributes in order to generate or evaluate ideas. Each attribute card is double-sided with opposing attributes.

Modifier cards can be layered on top of the user archetype to add contextual, attitudinal and behavioral attributes in order to generate or evaluate ideas. Each attribute card is double-sided with opposing attributes.


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Website design and content © 2019 Sam Szerlip.

Website design and content © 2019 Sam Szerlip.

Website design and content © 2019 Sam Szerlip.