April 16, 2012

Top 10 Mobile Apps for Financial Advisors

Financial Social Media President Amy McIlwain offers up the most fun, easy-to-use and beneficial apps

Advisors keep buzzing about the best mobile apps and social media sites, despite their uncertainty about how to navigate compliance issues.

As of 2011, 16% of advisors said they use social media to boost their businesses while another 31% said they don’t now but do plan to use it, according to a recent AdvisorBenchmarking report.

There’s a good reason why more advisors are turning to social media: because LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and other sites and applications help them decrease marketing expenses, improve client support and, ultimately, increase revenue, says Amy McIlwain, president of Financial Social Media. McIlwain, who spent six years in the financial industry selling advertising space for Senior Market Advisor magazine,launched Financial Social Media in 2010 to address the compliance issues surrounding social media and the financial industry.

“While financial advisors may have initially been resistant or hesitant to embrace social and mobile apps, there are a medley of easy-to-use apps that make it easier than ever for financial advisors to manage their business, clients and the morass of information regarding the industry,” McIlwain writes in an April 4 blog post for ByAllAccounts, a data aggregation firm used by thousands of advisors and wealth managers.

So what are the top 10 must-have social media and mobile apps that are fun, easy to use, and beneficial for financial advisors? Read on to learn about McIlwain’s recommendations.

Bloomberg Mobile App1. Bloomberg Mobile. This business news app is free, and users go to it for real-time financial market data, company descriptions and the latest market news and stock quotes. Advisors can use the “my stocks” feature to create personalized portfolios of stocks to follow for themselves or clients.

2. Nest Egg Estimator. This is one of Android’s top 10 apps, according to Financial Social Media's McIlwain, noting that it’s a great retirement tool because it projects finances into future years showing income, taxes, assets and debt. Advisors can give as little or as much information as they want. “More data means more accurate results,” McIlwain writes. “It also allows you to try different scenarios such as purchases, expenses, job changes and more.”

Customer trying out an iPad at an Apple store. (Photo: AP)3. Flipboard Pages. This iPad app delivers content from a number of publications, including ABC News, All Things Digital, Bon Appétit, Lonely Planet, SB Nation, SF Gate, Uncrate and The Washington Post Magazine. When an article from one of those publishers is shared on Twitter or Facebook, a Flipboard user selects “Read Article,” and can thus stay up to date on the latest news and magazine content in the financial industry.

4. Hootsuite. “Hootsuite is king when it comes to social media convenience and efficiency. Instead of shifting back and forth between social media platforms, Hootsuite allows admins to oversee and access all of their social operations in one convenient place,” writes McIlwain.

Black Diamond Performance Reporting for iPad5. Black Diamond Mobile for iPad. Authorized clients of Black Diamond Performance Reporting can use this iPad app to access performance data and to synch with Blue Sky web app settings.

McIlwain quotes Financial Advisors of America President Jodi Johnston as saying that the San Diego-based firm’s advisors love using Black Diamond.

“It’s a very useful performance reporting tool that provides the team access to our clients’ account and portfolio information on the go,” Johnston says. “We find the iPad functionality of the app beneficial, as it offers a large enough display screen that can be used in impromptu client meetings.”

6. Power Presenter. With the Power Presenter app, advisors can upload PDF files onto their iPads using any of their PC’s presentation or publishing tools. After uploading the files, advisors can then swipe through PDF pages and draw on them with their fingers. “This gives you the chance to annotate your own presentations, providing your clients with clear illustrations of financial trends. Instead of using plain pen and paper, you can impress prospects and clients by using an iPad,” McIlwain writes.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. (Photo: AP)7-10. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube. Last, but certainly not least, McIlwain recommends these best-known social media sites, all of which can be downloaded to a smartphone if a user already has an account with any of them.

“This will not only keep you on your game on all of the network updates, it’ll also give you the opportunity to engage in social relationships on the go. The smart phone platforms are often an abbreviated version of online platforms, and are very simple to figure out.

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Top 10 lists from AdvisorOne:

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