In “Apps for Advisors: 2013 Update,” Celent examined some of the technical and business issues of adviser apps as well as apps available for advisers today from leading wealth managers. The study also speculated what the next-generation functionality of adviser apps might be, and where wealth management firms should focus their attention.
Adviser appetite for tablets and tablet apps remains strong, as advisers leverage the larger screens and rich graphics in client meetings. Tablet use continues apace, as advisers purchase the devices as companions to or replacements for personal computers. Advisers view tablets as a tool to help them with meetings, presentations, client account updates, and for viewing and sharing performance and portfolio data.
An increasing number of advisers are using smart mobile devices and often want to use their personal devices, such as smartphones and tablets, for work. Many firms have developed Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) policies so their advisers can access corporate resources on personal devices.
As more and more individuals purchase smart devices, client expectations are also changing. Many clients, especially high-net-worth individuals, own smart devices and use them for entertainment as well as personal productivity. As a result, more customers expect their advisers to have access to technology that is equal to or better than theirs.
Celent believes many firms are under pressure to provide apps and smart device support for advisers, and adviser apps are crucial to the future of wealth management firms. Advisers want devices and apps to improve productivity, improve levels of service, and reinforce their value to their clients. The continued growth of devices is an opportunity to reach clients and prospects through a new electronic channel.
Focus on Adviser Apps Likely to Rise
More firms, including banks, brokers, and wirehouses, will increase their focus on adviser apps, which will become more important to the relationship between firms and their advisers, Celent said in the report.
Some findings include:
- Apps for tablets are the focus for most firms and technology providers in the adviser space. Advisers view tablets as a tool to help them with meetings, presentations, client account updates, and for viewing and sharing performance and portfolio data.
- Only four firms in the 2012 Barron’s Top 40 Wealth Managers rankings have apps for advisers. However, Celent expects more firms to roll out new apps for advisers in 2013 and 2014 to keep up with competitors.
- Apps have not yet become catalysts for clients to move assets between advisers, nor had they been a catalyst to help recruitment of advisers. However, the growth in smart device sales and the increasing use of apps by customers and advisers will make the mobile channel more attractive.
“Advisers want to use smart devices and apps to improve their productivity and level of service, as well as reinforce their value to their clients,” said Bill Fearnley, Jr., senior analyst with Celent’s securities and investments group and author of the report. “Many clients, especially high-net-worth individuals, already own smart devices and use them for entertainment as well as personal productivity. As a result, more customers expect their advisers to have access to mobile technology too.”
Celent is a research and advisory firm that identifies trends and best practices in financial services technology. More information about the report, including how to purchase a copy, is on their website.