Fidelity Investments unveiled an in-house developed mobile application for the iPhone, giving its 3,000-plus independent advisors a new tool to conveniently access clients' account balances, holdings and transaction history.

The app, which can be downloaded for free from Apple's App Store, is the firm's first foray into the mobile applications arena and the cornerstone of its nascent WealthCentral Mobile strategy.

Advisors will be able to customize the app to their specific display and work-style preferences and view real-time market news and quotes on the fly. Fidelity will add trading, interactive charting and sophisticated account look-up feature in future iterations.

Edward O'Brien, senior vice president and head of technology at Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, said advisors have been clamoring for a mobile app to help improve overall efficiency and provide a better client experience.

"We’ve leveraged a combination of Fidelity’s people, processes and technology to create a new app that merges innovative mobile technologies such as the iPhone with the power of WealthCentral," he said.

While most Wall Street firms and brokerages have long ago created mobile websites -- that is customer-facing sites that are designed for and accessible to any smartphone or tablet PC regardless of manufacturer or mobile operating system -- the vast majority have yet to commit to mobile app development for specific mobile operating systems like Apple's iOS, Google's Android or BlackBerry OS.

Fidelity said plans to developer mobile apps for the iPad, which also runs on Apple iOS and "devices running alternative systems" further down the road.

Fidelity's strategy dovetails with recommendations made earlier this week by Forrester Research in its "The State of Mobile Investor" report. The report advised financial services firms to pick one of the leading mobile operating systems and its devices for application development rather than risk spreading IT systems and resources too thin trying to support them all.

By being a relatively early mover in the mobile frenzy, Fidelity is giving its advisors a head start on most of its competitors.

"Our advisors are frequently away from the office when a client needs help or immediate answers to their questions," Rick Adkins, CEO of Arkansas Financial Group, said in a statement. "We find great benefit in the third-party market news and quote details that are incorporated -- all without having to exit the app."

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