Got a minute for portfolio management? Fidelity is betting that you'll use your shiny new Apple Watch to help make investment decisions.
The brokerage timed its release of a new mobile app for Apple Watch, which Apple CEO Tim Cook officially unveiled Monday at a glamorous event.
The latest shiny gadget from Apple comes out April 24, priced from $349 to $17,000. Fidelity’s app will be available on that same day.
The app is part of the brokerage's effort to be on every major mobile platform, from iPhones to the Kindle Fire, says Velia Carboni, senior vice president of mobile at Fidelity. "Building an app for the Apple Watch is an extension of this strategy -- supporting evolving form factors to give investors the ability to monitor and take action on the market and their portfolios anytime, anywhere."
Carboni says that the app is expected to complement Fidelity's existing digital offerings. "For example, if you look up a stock quote on your iPhone, the quote will appear on your Apple Watch and if you set up a trade alert for your iPhone, you’ll also receive it on your Apple Watch. It’s a consistent and complementary experience to our ecosystem of iOS devices."
Pushing its app on the same day as Apple's big show is an example of a company taking advantage of a first-mover branding opportunity, says Mark Schwanhausser, director of omnichannel financial services at Javelin Strategy & Research.
“The ROI is about establishing that you’re a first-adopter that is committed to being connected with customers 24-7-365, and [launching an Apple Watch app] reinforces that branding theme.
“It is not necessarily about winning new customers or boosting revenues -- it’s about being perceived as innovative,” he says. “People who buy Apple products are most likely affluent and are perhaps more likely to be Fidelity customers."
Apple Watch owners will be able to use Fidelity’s app to access an overview of global markets and get stock quotes and alerts on trading and investments. App users can also connect to their iPhone for more in-depth research and to make trades.
Javelin, in a July report, predicted that financial alerts and notifications will play an early role in financial services firms’ participation in the wearables space because they are a way for financial institutions to proactively initiate personal finance conversations that invite customers and prospects to engage with the firm and hopefully build trust.
Alerts serving security and personal-finance functions rank at the top of the consumers’ wish list, according to Javelin.
“The big picture is that Fidelity can start conversations with customers on the smart phone, tablet and smart watch by sending investment alerts and push notifications,” Schwanhausser says. The Apple Watch app “will help them continue to develop the ability to send more relevant information to their customers on the go."
One analyst suggested, however, that the app and phone weren't being used to their full potential.
"For investment 'wearables' to come alive, some additional capabilities relevant to the wearer will be needed," said Celent senior analyst Will Trout.
"These could be more than just account updates and alerts....what about geo location-driven stock ideas? Or better yet, some sort of comparison of the alternatives and/or the opportunity costs of such an investment?"
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