A key consideration driving financial advisors' data management strategies is how to leverage data and technology to forge stronger client relationships. Â There's been considerable buzz recently about emerging new technologies that have improved wealth management systems such as CRM and account aggregation.Â However, an area that's still very much unexploited and rife with opportunity is the development of advisory-branded mobile applications.
The explosive growth of smartphones and tablets in recent years is accelerating, and is creating demand for all kinds of mobile applications. As of this writing the Apple App Store, the world's largest app marketplace, boasts over 500,000 iOS applications for iPhone and iPad.
Interestingly, there have been only a handful of mobile applications released by wealth managers thus far.Â Expect that to change.Â According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers Asia Pacific Private Banking Survey, nearly 50 percent of private banks surveyed expected to use mobileÂ applications to interact with customers in the next two years.
Mobile access matters for today's wealth management clientele
The new generation of high net worth customers increasingly expects information delivered on demand wherever they are, whenever they want it. Â These customers are already taking advantage of a wide variety of mobile applications from their financial services providers, covering areas such as mobile banking and brokerage account trading.
They're also following the markets using innovative financial mobile applications from third parties that present market data information in new and exciting ways.Â Take for instance StockTouch, the Apple App Store's top Finance iPad App of 2011.Â The app makes elegant use of the touchscreen's native capabilities, enabling users to view a heat map of stock market performance by sector, and then intuitively drill down to a sector or security level for more information, including news and charts.
Wikinvest has a mobile application that takes a different, more personalized approach, consolidating a user's various brokerage accounts into a singleÂ view that allows the user to dynamically monitor real-time portfolio balances and track the performance, news, and fundamentals of portfolio positions.
Amid this proliferation of financial mobile applications, it's only a matter of time before wealth management clients expect the same level of mobile application sophistication from their advisors.Â Advisors will need to present information such as account balances, transactions, and portfolio positions at a minimum.Â To differentiate will require additional capabilities such as in-depth market analysis and research.
It appears that there is already some pent up demand.Â J.P. Morgan, one of the first to market with iPhone and iPadÂ mobile applicationsÂ for wealth management customers, has reported that mobile adoption has thus far been more rapid than the uptake of their internet site.
Wealth managers reluctant to embark on a mobile application communication strategy are at risk of falling behind the competition, and not connecting with the tech-savvy segment of today's customers, as well as the majority of tomorrow's customers.
How the cloud can help jump start the mobile application development process
Market data is a key component to the development of wealth management mobile applications.Â Advisors who deliver data-rich mobile applications will strengthen their connection with customers while enhancing transparency and trust.
A cloud-based market data solution is well equipped to meet mobile application challenges head on. Cloud-based web APIs can stream real-time and referential market data to mobile applications seamlessly, allowing firms to bypass the headaches and expenses associated with integrating data from traditional data feeds.
With the help of a market data cloud, firms can reduce the mobileÂ application development cycle, launch their apps in less time, and as a result create deeper engagement with their customers.
This is the fourth post in our "Top 5 Wealth Management Technology Challenges Addressed by the Cloud" multi-part blog series. Be on the lookout for our next post "Reducing market data expenditures".Â For further reading on this topic, check out "The 3 Phase Evolution of Buy-Side Mobile Apps."