In the past year, there was a major push in the mobile application space, and I believe this went hand-in-hand with the financial services industry starting to embrace social media and cloud computing. The industry is realizing that technology can keep everyone in touch while on the go. You can now be in a meeting and pull up a presentation or demo on your iPad, then you can pull up any data needed to support your presentation with just the touch of a button. So as we forge into a new decade, we need to get with the times! And really, how many people do you know who don’t have a blackberry or iPhone these days? Not many, if any, right?
So with all the new technology and industry changes, there is of course some hesitation. Many industry veterans don’t get the need for change. The newcomers want to revolutionize the space and see where current technology can take us. So is there a happy medium? In my eyes… not really. Technology will only get more sophisticated and in a year’s time mobile apps could be the norm.
With this said, there has been a lot of talk lately in the news about issues surrounding mobile apps. The top concern appears to be compliance and security. There is a lot of data and account information associated with mobile apps so there needs to be a way to protect that information. In an article I read in Wall Street & Technology, it was quoted that “If a device is lost, it takes 15 minutes at most to obtain full access if it hasn’t been properly secured.” Maybe that’s not a big deal for the person checking up on the latest CNBC podcasts on their mobile device, but it can be a very scary thought for someone tracking their investments. Also, what happens if you lose your phone? You’ll need to have a way to remotely remove all data from the device. These are all issues I’m sure that are already being worked on, but maybe the industry should keep these thoughts in mind when moving forward and make them a priority. This is a constantly evolving industry and those who can’t keep up will just be left behind.
So while companies such as E-Trade, TD Ameritrade, Morgan Stanley and TradeKing have already taken to the mobile world, I think we are still just seeing the beginning phase. Even with Broadridge introducing a mobile ProxyVote platform (which, by the way, I think is a great idea!) I have a feeling these apps are only the tip of the iceberg and we are going to see things take off in a big way this year! It will be interesting to see, as we all get more acclimated to mobile devices, all the benefits and developments they will bring.