Fidelity Investments is now offering a free version of its WealthCentral customer relationship and portfolio management platform for the iPad.

RIAs and family office advisors who download it from Apple’s App Store can customize their preferences to view clients’ accounts and orders, access stock quotes and analysis and view and filter alerts before or during client visits on their iPads.

“We see the iPad as a must-have device for investment professionals on the go and an opportunity to stay connected to our clients and their investment portfolios at all times,” Thomas Roche, Fidelity’s vice president of operations and client service director, said in a statement. “Being able to quickly access client accounts in the same way we do on our desktops and with the same level of security -- and execute a strategy from anywhere, anytime system availability and response times may be subject to mobile phone network and market conditions. -- allows us to improve our overall efficiency and deliver a better experience to our clients.”

It should come as little surprise that Fidelity went out of its way to develop a WealthCentral app specifically for the iPad. Less than a year ago, it rolled out a similar app for the iPhone that’s already garnered more than 4,000 downloads.

Financial Planning’s 2011 Tech Survey found that almost four in 10 financial advisors already have a tablet PC and another 33% plan to buy one in the next year. And off these early adopters, a whopping 85% own an iPad.

According to a recent Aite Group report, 29% of financial advisors believe they will begin using a tablet for business purposes within the next 12 to 18 months.

Fidelity isn't alone.

In November, UBS announced plans for 60 FAs to test drive a new app for iPad called UBS FA Mobile, a password-secured app that runs behind the UBS firewall on an internal cloud computing network that lets FAs tap into proprietary research, client materials, account and contact data as well as analyst reports and their email accounts.

Fidelity said advisors will now be able to place domestic equity, ETF and mutual fund orders on behalf of their clients and access client account balances, holdings and transaction activity from their iPads just as many had been doing from their iPhones or desktops.

“We are applying our experience as a leading innovator in mobile trading and investing to deliver the very best mobile tools available,” Edward O’Brien, Fidelity’s senior vice president and head of technology, Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services and Fidelity Family Office Services, said in a statement. “This is all part of our ongoing commitment to helping our clients and their customers leverage technology to become more efficient, productive and connected with their investments, which is even more critical in today’s volatile markets.”