Five out of 17 mutual fund firms studied by Corporate Insight were judged to provide a comprehensive set of Web-based tools to keep advisors informed of market changes.
At the same time, most firms could better utilize the tools available to provide instant communications to advisors, the study says.
American Funds, AllianceBernstein, MFS, DWS Investments and Invesco Aim came out on top for providing comprehensive commentary outlets for their clients, says Corporate Insight, a market research and consulting firm based in New York City.
Some funds use RSS feeds, which are automatic notifications to the advisor of new content on a Web blog, while others utilize podcasts, which can be replayed at any time on any Internet device.
Others offer direct e-mail delivery of new pieces from the Web site and still others provide automatic e-mail notifications that tell advisors to go to the Web site for new commentary.
New entries can cover a range of topics, such as MFS's fund analysis and market commentary by the fund's chief investment strategist, James Swanson, or American Funds Perspective by Jim Rothenberg, chairman of the investment advisor to American Funds, on what to expect in 2009.
Corporate Insight recommends mutual fund firms use audio, video and PDF formats for commentary, use RSS feeds or e-mail alerts when new commentary is posted, provide access to archived commentaries and provide different analysis by region and financial sector.
"During times of extreme market turbulence, it is even more essential for mutual fund advisors to understand the correlation of topical, current events to their mutual funds' performance," says Corporate Insight. Using Internet technology on the fund website including "audio, video and written commentaries serves to establish a firm's expertise in the mutual fund field and can strengthen an advisor's loyalty to the firm."