Financial advisors want easier ways to stay informed about economic news and events, and research investment products offered by the leading investment managers.
Many have adopted Apple's iPad as a way to perform those tasks (and more) while on the go; December's e Financial Planning Tech Survey found that half of all advisors now own a tablet - and of those, 81% own an iPad.
In response to the trend, investment managers are now providing their own iPad apps to showcase their products and services in an engaging, interactive way.
Below is a list of free iPad apps developed by investment managers that advisors can use to touch and swipe their way through relevant news and information. The best of these offer video commentary, social media integration and interactive menus that allow users to search and filter products. One note: Apps that require proprietary subscriptions or login credentials were not included.
1. INVESCO US
One of the most visually appealing apps in the list, Invesco US includes a mutual fund finder tool, an interactive wheel to view the company's product categories, a Twitter news feed, and written and video investment insight summaries. The app also features content from Invesco Consulting, with a variety of practice management resources targeted to financial professionals.
2. SCHWAB MOBILE
This iPad app provides periodic market updates throughout the trading day from the Schwab Center for Financial Research, as well as articles aggregated from a variety of media outlets, including MarketWatch and The Associated Press.
The app is primarily for use by Schwab's retail clients, who can use the app for banking and brokerage activity. However, advisors can get useful snapshots of each trading day from the market overview screen to help them stay updated.
3. FIDELITY INVESTMENTS
Like Schwab Mobile, Fidelity Investments for iPad is designed for the retail investor audience. Nevertheless, financial advisors should find the interactive menus a useful way to access market news and insights and video content from Reuters, as well as Fidelity Viewpoints, featuring opinions from Fidelity portfolio managers and more.
4. VANGUARD ADVISORS
From one of the world's largest asset managers, Vanguard Advisors' iPad app allows advisors to quickly search among the company's ETF and mutual fund products, read research and market commentary articles, and watch videos on a variety of content, from estate planning to global economic changes. The app also ties in the company's real-time Twitter feed for advisors.
Advisors can use Pimco's iPad app to read commentary from the investment giant's leading managers, including Bill Gross and Mohamed El-Erian. The app offers an easy way to navigate through articles on investment outlooks and strategies, but it lacks both multi- media content and a search tool that can help advisors navigate the company's portfolio of investment products.
6. FRANKLIN TEMPLETON (US)
From Franklin Templeton Investments, this iPad app allows advisors to search through the company's product portfolio using a graphic that resembles a periodic table. Several videos offer global investment perspectives from company portfolio managers who speak to a variety of economic topics.
By tapping the settings icon in the top-right corner of the app, advisors can also view other Franklin Templeton media - including the company's YouTube page, Facebook profile and Twitter feed.
7. LEGG MASON INTERNATIONAL
Though not specifically intended for the United States audience, Legg Mason International for iPad offers a collection of written articles, videos and audio webcast replays, with insights applicable to the global marketplace.
Information on Legg Mason's international portfolio of products can be viewed from within the app -but again, details on products available in the U.S. are excluded.
8. NATIXIS RESEARCH
An iPad app from Natixis, the financial services arm of France's Groupe BPCE, provides access to free written commentary on economic research, much of it with a focus on the euro zone. However, access to expanded information on credit and equity research requires a subscription.
Bill Winterberg, CFP, writes and consults on technology solutions for advisors. Visit fppad.com for related videos and podcasts.