Wealth management fares worst in mobile app client satisfaction

Wealth management clients are not happy with their mobile apps. That could mean less opportunities to cross sell additional financial services products and a loss of wallet share, according to a recent J.D. Power survey.

Wealth management apps fared worse in terms of client satisfaction when compared with a group of firms from other industries — including rental car companies, airlines and even health insurers. The average overall customer satisfaction score for wealth management mobile apps topped out at 846 out of a possible 1,000 points. Winners included credit card apps with 872 points and retail banking apps with 853 points.

“Clients are using their mobile phones more often and for more things than ever before, and so the mobile experience becomes very important,” says Michael Foy, senior director at J.D. Power.

It’s particularly important for wealth management to address the problems with its mobile experience because the industry is underperforming, he adds. “Advisors are simply trailing behind other industries.”

Not surprisingly, millennials are the most influenced by flashy mobile apps, according to the survey. Among millennials who say the overall mobile app experience is outstanding, 77% strongly agreed they would be likely to sign up for additional products and services. That number was just 26% for respondents who reported lower satisfaction levels.

“Everybody is trying to compete for a larger share of customer wallets,” Foy says. “Firms are trying to expand the relationship with the customer and the mobile experience is influencing the decisions clients are making.”

Unfortunately, only 30% of millennials rate their wealth management app as outstanding, according to the research.

The study evaluated five broad factors including range of services, clarity of information, ease of navigating app, appearance and speed of screens loading. Which wealth management firms fared the best and worst?

Vanguard ranked last in the survey that queried 2,892 full-service and self-directed wealth management customers in July and August. In the rankings, Charles Schwab and Wells Fargo ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction, each with a score of 865 out of 1,000. Edward Jones ranked third with a score of 864.

“Mobile apps aren’t just a nice-to-have anymore,” Foy says. “A good enough experience rather than an exceptional experience makes a big difference.”

Scroll through for a full listing of the best and worst mobile apps according to J.D. Power’s client satisfaction survey and how they ranked in terms of overall performance along with a handful of other factors.

Vanguard is cutting commissions for 15 mutual fund shares.
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Overall: 13

Appearance: 12

Range of services: 4

Ease of use: 13
TD Ameritrade building photo Bloomberg News
Pedestrians pass in front of a TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. location in San Francisco, California, U.S., on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. TD Ameritrade Holding Corp. is scheduled to release earnings figures on January 18. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
TD Ameritrade
Overall: 12

Appearance: 11

Range of services: 11

Ease of use: 11
Morgan Stanley Reels in $5B Team
Morgan Stanley
Overall: 11

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Range of services: 4

Ease of use: 5
Pedestrians pass in front of a US Bancorp branch in downtown Chicago, Illinois, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018. US Bancorp is scheduled to release earnings figures on January 17. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg.
Pedestrians walk past a US Bancorp branch in downtown Chicago, IL on Tuesday, January 9, 2018. Photographer: Christopher Dilts/Bloomberg *** Local Caption ***
U.S. Bank
Overall: 10

Appearance: 10

Range of services: 4

Ease of use: 5
E-Trade building exterior
Overall: 9

Appearance: 8

Range of services: 7

Ease of use: 6
Ameriprise financial bloomberg
Overall: 8


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Merrill Lynch
Overall: 7

Appearance: 7

Range of services: 6

Ease of use: 7
Overall: 6

Appearance: 6

Range of services: 10

Ease of use: 3
Merrill Edge investment center in a branch 031218_SFMain_315Montgomery_3G0A1497.jpg
Merrill Edge
Overall: 5

Appearance: 5

Range of services: 9

Ease of use: 9
A customer uses a JPMorgan Chase & Co. bank ATM location in San Diego, California, U.S., on Wednesday, July 8, 2015. JPMorgan Chase & Co. is scheduled to announce quarterly earnings results on July 14. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg
Overall: 4

Appearance: 2

Range of services: 5

Ease of use: 4
Edward Jones
Overall: 3

Appearance: 1

Range of services: 3

Ease of use: 3
Wells Fargo bank branch 2017 Bloomberg News
Pedestrians pass in front of a Wells Fargo & Co. bank branch in New York, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017. Wells Fargo & Co. is scheduled to release earning figures on January 13. Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg
Wells Fargo
Overall: 1

Appearance: 3

Range of services: 2

Ease of use: 1
Charles Schwab custodian window Bloomberg April 22, 2019
A pedestrian passes in front of a Charles Schwab Corp. office building in New York, U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. Charles Schwab Corp. is scheduled to release earnings on January 16. Photographer: Gabriella Angotti-Jones/Bloomberg
Charles Schwab
Overall: 1

Appearance: 8

Range of services: 1

Ease of use: 2