Tablets have fundamentally changed the way financial advisors do their work and there’s every reason to believe they will continue to be the dominant tool of choice in the advisory community for years to come.
According to Financial Planning’s 2011 Tech Survey, almost four in 10 financial advisors already have a tablet PC and another 33% plan to buy one in the next year. Of these early adopters, a whopping 85% own an iPad.
Never have so many advisers deployed a new technology so fast. Last year, only months after its launch, 17% of advisors had iPads. Another 51% planned to buy one – and they made good on their word.
“Tablets have changed my day-to-day way of operation,” said Janet Tyler Johnson, president of JATAJ Wealth Management in Fitchburg, Wis., who is using an iPad2 now and has no plans to change brands anytime soon. “I read all my financial newspapers on my iPad, use the CNBC RT app for real-time quotes and market updates as well as breaking news. When out of the office, I use my iPad to check email, client portfolios and even make trades.
“There are probably other uses I’m not even thinking about as I can’t imagine not having my iPad now,” she adds.
Twenty-one percent of the 3,200 advisors queried own an Android tablet, and another 22% plan to buy one. Just 3% own another brand of tablet, and 8% plan to buy another brand.
With this sort of market penetration, iPad apps from asset managers are a must. Client-facing apps are also a must, since clients are also in sync with the iPad craze.
“I have become a 100% Mac user,” Johnson said. “iMac in the office, MacBook Pro on the road along with iPad2 and I have the iPhone 4S. I never see myself going back to Windows. Ever.”
Dan Candura, a CFP with PennyTree Advisers LLC in Braintree, Mass., uses an iPad2 said he now uses a Mac or iOS option for almost all of his services.
“Tablets have made it easier for me to stay in touch with my clients and respond to their needs,” he said. “I am able to share information with them easily.”
“Where I once had to use Windows-based software, I now find I can do almost everything from my MacBook Pro and iPad. I am encouraged by the increasing availability of applications for Macs.”
Just last week, 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.
“The launch of UBS FA Mobile is an important milestone in our technology journey, which is all about harnessing the benefits of innovative technologies to help FAs deepen their relationships with their clients,” said Anita Sands, chief operating officer for UBS Wealth Management Americas. “We recognized that the trends occurring outside our industry – in mobile, social networking and cloud – represent a paradigm shift.”
And even among advisors who aren’t currently using an iPad or other tablet, it seems that it’s probably just a matter of time.
“We are currently not using tablets,” said Jeffrey Keefe, financial advisor and principal at Whole Wealth Management in Portsmouth, N.H. “No definite plans [to use tablet], but [we’re] certainly curious.”
For more details and insight, please review the full version of Financial Planning’s 2011 Technology Survey.