Collage style image of the mockups created to showcase the designs for the printed Tailored Shareholder Report as well as the responsive website. The SEC logo also features in the background of the image.

Tailored Shareholder Report design that meets new SEC regulations

Designing in line with new regulations, to improve Broadridge's investor communications







Challenge icon

The challenge

Redesign Broadridge’s shareholder report, condensing down hundreds of pages to meet SEC regulations and give investors clarity.

What we did icon

What we did

Created a user-tested design system for the condensed report plus a microsite to house reports for investors with multiple share classes.

Outcome icon

The outcome

A tailored shareholder report where investors can quickly find essential information, both top-line and deep dive, which meets SEC regulations.

Shareholder reports are among the most important documents that investors receive. Until 2022, they were also among the longest and the hardest to decipher. In January 2023, the US Securities and Exchange Commission brought in amendments to modernise these reports.

SEC Chair Gary Gensler, announcing the change, said: “Shareholder reports are amongst the most important documents that fund investors receive. These reports, however, often are more than 100 pages in length. As a result, a retail investor looking to understand the performance, fees and other operations of a mutual fund or exchange-traded fund may need to sift through extensive financial information. Today’s final rules will require fund companies to share a concise set of materials that get to the heart of the matter. 

"Further, today’s final rules are designed to promote transparent and balanced presentations of fees and expenses in investment company advertisements. 

"The rule amendments will require funds to provide concise, tailored shareholder reports that highlight key information, such as fund expenses, performance, and portfolio holdings. The instructions for the revamped reports will encourage the use of graphic and text features to make them more effective."

Adopting change directives and coming up with unique design solutions is something we deal with all the time at Studiomade. In this case, for Broadridge’s Tailored Shareholder Report (TSR), it took the form of information design and data visualisation. Our design had to give a refined experience for the reader as well as meeting all the SEC’s requirements.

Photograph of the SEC logo seal accompanied by the following copy to the right of the image: 

Understanding SEC’s directive: 

Funds will be required to send annual and semi-annual TSRs to all of their shareholders.

Funds are required to replace 30e-3 notices (and full reports) with TSRs during an 18-month transition period (anticipated to be on or about July 2024).

The SEC have laid out content requirements that dictate 
the presentation of a TSR report.

What we did

Define the content

We had to cater to every eventuality so that our design met all requirements, particularly in this situation, where the detail of the document has legal implications and real-world application may have unique use cases. We had to design to a worst-case scenario, where the longest title, shortest chart and every type of source detail could be included within a TSR structure, with a templated approach that would work well every time.

Diagram showing how the Tailored Shareholder Report will be sent out. The Shareholder will send out the TSR in printed format as well as via an email. Paper formats will be explored for the physical version of the report and dynamic and AMP content will be considered for the email version of the report. Both the printed and email reports will have links to access the TSR microsite and PDF version of the report.

A clear, concise structure

We needed a systematic reading flow. In a report like this, shareholders want to see at-a-glance top-line information as well as a deep dive into the data. Our team plotted all the content components so that we could present and prioritise them in the best way, with a design that leads the eye through an appropriate hierarchy of information and doesn't frustrate the user by hiding details that they need to easily see. 

This is a good stage to work with test audiences. Qualitative research informs our design decisions and helps us understand users' needs and frustrations. We were able to check that in meeting the SEC guidance we hadn’t lost sight of the users’ requirements and their reading experience.

Image of the typeface used for this project. The typeface is called Public Sans

Typography and colour

With all the information defined, we built a design system that would work across a suite of communications, meeting accessibility guidelines and best practice.

Intelligent use of typography is of primary importance with copy heavy publications. We created a strong and consistent style and hierarchy across heading styles, subheadings, tables and body text. Consistency creates familiarity for the reader, so that they instinctively understand the flow and pattern of a document and the eye quickly recognises the purpose of a content element.

The role of colour also has a large part, particularly when communications are co-branded. We built a wide-ranging colour palette that can expand and flex as required. 

We also used iconography to help signpost users to key information quickly. The structural planning work that we carried out earlier in the process was particularly valuable here, so that high-priority information could be given an icon or signifier to draw attention to it. 

Testing and delivery

Designs are interpreted slightly differently by every user so this was another good point to test on an audience. Working with systems such as we sense-checked our choices, iterating on our work to make improvements and create a design that's both engaging and functional. 

Another change in the SEC regulation was to make the process greener. Printing and sending hundreds of reports and thousands of pages to shareholders isn’t the most environmentally friendly method. Our solution altered this approach with a digital experience, designing a microsite to house the multiple reports needed by investors with multiple share classes. 

This was a key part of our process review, providing efficiencies to scale and doing less harm to the environment. 

Image of the TSR email mockup and and arrow showing how this would link through to the microsite. The microsite mockup is also shown here

The outcome

We created a tailored shareholder report that contains all the condensed, legally required information, plus a microsite housing reports for individuals and investors with multiple share classes. Investors can now quickly find essential information, both top-line and deep dive, without ploughing through a report that’s hundreds of pages long. Broadridge can be confident that it is providing investors with what they need as well as being compliant with the new SEC regulations.

Mocked up visuals of the various print formats explored for the TSR. There is a tri-folded leaflet that creates a 6 page document, a US letter sized document that would yield 2 pages if printed on the front and the back and finally a 4 page leaflet created by folding a US letter sized piece of paper in half

Are you a fund brand or broker?

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