February 26, 2013

Transparency Delivers Better Service

While service has been a key differentiator for financial advisers, mobile has given online brokers a leg up. This is especially the case as traditional financial advisory firms had been much slower to take advantage of the latest mobile trends, though this too is changing. Leading wealth management firms had been busy overcoming the effects of the financial-crisis-based mergers and acquisitions, and others have hesitated because of data security concerns.

The wealth management community's sluggish adoption of mobile technology has resulted in consumers being much better equipped than their financial advisers when it comes accessing financial information at any time. As a result, financial advisers are at a disadvantage, especially apparent in client meetings as consumer expectations for getting real-time responses to their questions have risen sharply. This is particularly frustrating to financial advisers who as consumers have experienced the power of modern smartphones and tablets, and would love to use them to better serve their clients.

[Chaikin Analytics Launches iPad Workstation For Institutional Asset Managers and Advisors]

Many wealth management firms are still struggling to define a fitting mobile strategy. Embracing mobile and tablets for these firms means reshaping the client/financial adviser relationship, which clearly isn't an easy task. However, it's only a matter of time until more tech-savvy firms equip their advisers with mobile and tablet support that will give them a significant advantage over their competitors.

The move to mobile technology won't be based on making every single business application available via a mobile device. Instead, leading firms will make broad mobile-based platforms available to financial advisers. These platforms won't adhere to the traditional application boundaries, but rather will support the advice process that takes place in the field. In this role, tablets will create a lasting transformational impact on how financial advisers work with clients. For this to happen, however, wealth management firms have to substantially increase their dedication to mobile computing.

Alois Pirker is a research director at Aite Group, specializing in the wealth management market.