Updated Tuesday, July 29, 2014 as of 1:01 PM ET
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Will Mobile Technology Reshape Wealth Management?
Friday, February 8, 2013
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Whether it’s retail, education, medical or banking, the adoption of mobile platforms, particularly tablets, has increased productivity, improved client access and enabled a more effective delivery of services and solutions.

A recent study conducted by Gartner suggests that the number of tablets purchased by businesses will more than quadruple to 53 million units by 2016, from 13 million units in 2012.

In terms of mobile adoption, the wealth management industry has lagged. This is not surprising given the stringent regulatory environment, privacy issues and legacy business models that govern the industry.

But, there is clear evidence that change is in sight.

A number of advisory firms, broker-dealers and technology platform providers have announced the development of mobile solutions to meet the growing demand for anytime, anywhere access and next generation practice management tools.

A critical tool for the next generation of advisors is the Unified Wealth Platform. Deploying a Unified Wealth Platform as an end-to-end advisory solution will enable financial planners and wealth advisors shift to mobile. Anytime, anywhere mobile access to this integrated platform will provide advisors with a full array of interactive tools to enhance their practice’s value, resulting in the delivery of more tailored solutions to clients. For advisory firms still hesitant about making the investment to facilitate mobility, it’s time to fully consider the benefits to their advisors and clients.

Benefits to the Advisor

Before long, most advisors will consider mobile platform access a necessity for their practices. The competitive and fast-paced nature of the advisory business requires advisors to meet with as many clients and prospects as possible, all the while conducting business very efficiently. Tablet devices are best suited to help advisors accomplish this.  In fact, current research shows that nearly half of advisors are already using tablets for business purposes because of the clear benefits that tablets offer compared to laptops.

Tablets facilitate far superior interactive and collaborative conversations between advisors and clients than laptops. The rich and dynamic graphics and intuitive navigation allow for more robust conversations around the advisor’s “Four P” process – profiling, planning, portfolio construction and “proposaling.” In addition, the financial and investment planning phase is particularly enhanced by tablet technology, since advisors can use the device to graphically model many different retirement scenarios for clients. These practical and actionable scenarios are based on goals, risk tolerance and market predictions.  The ability to easily produce many iterations of advice results in time savings and efficiency, especially compared to the burdensome legacy approach of developing plans and proposals, mailing them to clients, receiving revisions, changing assumptions and inputs and finally, producing revised proposals.

Furthermore, leveraging a mobile approach will likely lead to improved close rates because the face-to-face, interactive engagement will result in proposals that leave clients with a greater understanding of the recommendations. Therefore, advisors will face a reduced likelihood of proposal rejection. Tablets provide a way to improve overall practice management – by making CRM tasks, accessing market news as well as receiving and reviewing alerts easier and more efficient.

Benefits to the Investor

Investors working with an advisor who augments their practice with a mobile platform also benefit in several ways. The mobile device encourages the investor to be more interactive with their advisor by providing an easier medium to solicit feedback, when both parties can view modeling scenarios and retirement income calculators simultaneously. Investors are more empowered when they become part of the proposaling process, and not just a bystander.

Investors with self-directed tendencies will expect advisory firms to deliver products and services via a mobile platform offering, or a web browser experience, that works well on a mobile device. This is quickly becoming a requirement as most other financial services are already mobile-accessible, in an effort to meet investors’ demands for anytime, anywhere access in order to stay abreast of their portfolio’s performance, monitor volatility, plan budgets and also ensure they are on track with their goals. Mobile apps, like those from Mint.com, have created investor demand for easy and consolidated access to their holistic financial picture, forcing advisor-directed firms to offer similarly attractive tools, solutions and user interfaces.  

Thinking to the Future

As a provider of advisory solutions, wealth management firms need to partner with technology providers that can bring their mobile needs to life. The ability to retain advisors, enhance productivity, expand capacity, and improve overall practice efficiency will be largely increased through the use of mobile technology solutions in the near future. Access to a Unified Wealth Platform, delivered via an advisor’s tablet, will provide advisors with the enhanced practice management and advice delivery solutions needed to win client relationships and assets to manage in today’s highly competitive wealth management market.

(3) Comments
Interesting article and one I think would be a good read for senior level executives who current run wealth management/advisor teams of all sizes.

We work with several large banks who had some of the exact issues brought up in this article and recognized early on the value that using a unobtrusive easy to access mobile tablet in the field.

Critical issue to them was a variety of national and international laws prohibiting the actual data to trvel beyond their fixed data center, or across country boundaries.

We developed a technology that allows wealth advisors to have full access to ALL of their most sensitive and taxing applications from their iPad/Android with data never ever residing on the tablet. Furthermore we solved the issue of having several applications open simultaneously, aggregated at the device.

Finally wealth advisors need to have a perfect user experience complete with a keyboard mouse and without having to retrain on a "mobile" application that might deliver only 30-50% functionality. Our clients get 100% functionality, get to use the same native screen as their desktop if they want to and the bank doesn't need to worry about managing the mobile device since the bank holds all of the control to the applications behind their firewall.

Posted by tom d | Friday, February 08 2013 at 12:20PM ET
We are pro-marketers and communicators and tech savvy. However, we take a contrarian view with tech. We propose the party is pretty much over. It is now a utility and any significant improvements in either gadgets, software etc face hard stops. There is also a precedence for this in earlier tech developments and business models.

Clients only have two hands - how many more gadgets can they adopt? Everyone who is going to do it is on the web in whatever form fits them. People's schedules, especially the rich and successful are already past capacity to relationships, gadgets, systems and time.

There simply is no more time for new tech adoption. Also, "There is no tech solution to relationship problems."Tablets will just canabilize computer time and that may or may not be a plus for advisor's relationships and businesses.

We do need much more good data to even start swapping opinions on all this. Breathless hype about tech is old news.

Posted by Elmer R | Friday, February 08 2013 at 2:12PM ET
Thank you for sharing this interesting post. It is seen that mobile is making a big change in all industries but not seen much of an impact in wealth management. Though with the banking sector getting into mobiles, we slowly see the other sectors of the industry slowing opening up to the option.
Posted by tasha123 s | Sunday, February 17 2013 at 9:59AM ET
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