Enterprise use of tablets is projected to quadruple from 2012 to 2016 to more than 53 million tablets, reports Gartner, promising to fundamentally change the way in which business is conducted, including the business of financial advice. In today’s increasingly digital world, mobile technology is key for advisors looking to remain competitive and increase assets under management. Likewise, as investors demand greater efficiency and more real-time information, wealth management firms are adopting mobile technology to untether advisors from their desktop computers, thus freeing up their time to attract new accounts and provide more personalized service to existing clients.
In an increasingly connected world, the primary demand of investors is convenience—the ability to access information whenever and wherever they want—and greater visibility into how their portfolio is being managed. While advisors are currently utilizing the marketing value and convenience of mobile tools to streamline routine account management processes, for instance, there is tremendous potential for them to leverage mobile technology to drive much higher efficiency in client service and improvements in performance.
Applications of Mobile Technology
Prospecting is a crucial business focus for advisors and can be facilitated with mobile technology. With tablets, prospects can share financial information with advisors, giving them necessary information at their fingertips to answer a prospect’s questions and gather more data. Tablets can eliminate superfluous steps—returning to the office to transfer information from the meeting to a desktop computer, creating a hard copy of the resulting investment proposal and repeating the process if the prospect asks for something new, among others. Instead, mobile technology enables the advisor to pull a proposal together after only one or two meetings, eliminating inefficiency and replacing time they would have spent in front of their computers with face-to-face interaction. Capabilities such as e-signatures further accelerate turnaround time and the new-account opening process. There is no longer a need for mailing, signing and re-scanning a proposal.
Increasing Client Collaboration
The quarterly review process will also improve significantly through increased use of mobile technology. Instead of using a printout of the account statement to show clients how their portfolio is performing, advisors can electronically access real-time account data together with the client. With real-time access, advisors can reduce unnecessary back-and-forth dialogue and outdated information, while simultaneously becoming more eco-friendly.
The flexibility and real-time intelligence that mobile technology provides to advisors will, of course, translate into helping investors achieve their financial goals through improved client-advisor interaction. Simply put: the more information the advisor has, the more information the investor has. Beyond the improved efficiency of paperless counsel, real-time information capabilities will allow both the investor and the advisor to make better judgments about their investing.
Challenges Remain in the Path to Widespread Mobile Adoption
As with many technologies, challenges remain, particularly in security and development. Currently, the in-house development of apps for each separate operating system—such as iOS and Android—introduces its own separate costs, distribution and security issues. This makes application development less financially viable for individual firms, particularly the smaller ones. In order for tablets and mobile technology to become fully integrated into advisors’ business processes, there should be one application that can be used across multiple operating systems. But despite the need for this cross-operating system platform, mobile technology is already providing not only convenience, but also real value to both advisors and their clients.
Advisors, though, are demanding more than just convenience from these mobile platforms, as disjointed workflow and multiple solutions neither suffice nor satisfy any longer. They are looking for elegantly designed, integrated and intuitive solutions created with high-quality technology that mirror the experiences that their clients have with apps they use for other aspects of their lives. A comprehensive approach to develop and enhance mobile capabilities, that pushes the advisory industry to offer a mainstream experience, can yield high client retention, an expanding base of new accounts and a greater share of assets under management.