April 25, 2013

Fidelity Introduces Cloud-Based Advisor Platform

Provides access to accounts and information ‘from anywhere, at anytime and on any device’

Fidelity Investments is in the clouds.

The Boston-based investment giant on Thursday unveiled a “cloud-based virtual desktop solution for financial advisors.”  Working with External IT, a cloud outsourcing company, the solution will enable the “anywhere advisor” by providing advisors access to their entire suite of business tools and desktop and cloud-based applications from anywhere via a web browser, including from mobile and tablet devices, according to the company.

It cites recent research that finds operational, technology and back-office support was ranked as the No. 1 support need for advisors considering a switch to an existing or new independent firm. 

“Through the use of virtualized desktop technologies, financial advisors custodying with Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services may be able to increase their ability to scale their business quickly and efficiently, conduct business regardless of geography and decrease the time and costs associated with back-end infrastructure,” the company adds.

“Years ago, Fidelity set on a course to bring the latest in innovation and technology to the advisors on our WealthCentral platform,” Edward O’Brien, senior vice president and head of technology with Fidelity Institutional Wealth Services, said in a statement. “Offering choice and flexibility through effective integrations was the first frontier on that charted course. Today, we’re looking ahead to the next frontier–products and services for anywhere advisors in their pursuit of running a practice from a mobile or tablet device.”

Fidelity found 39% of advisors were currently employing some form of cloud computing, and 76% were planning to store more than 50% of their documents in a cloud environment within five years. In addition, 48% of advisors prioritized gaining workflow efficiencies from cloud computing as their top technology goal.

The External IT platform will feature:

  • Access from anywhere to cloud-based applications and data via a browser, including from mobile and tablet devices
  • The ability to reduce an onsite computing infrastructure
  • A central document repository hosted in the cloud, enabling advisors to access all of their documents and Microsoft Exchange email from anywhere, anytime
  • The potential to host all business applications in the cloud and access them anywhere via the virtual desktop
  • A subscription-based pricing model for a streamlined billing process
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