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Is Mobile Technology a Threat to Advisors? It Shouldn’t Be

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The finance world is in no rush to jump on the mobile bandwagon. Overrun by conglomerates with practices steeped in tradition, the industry is notoriously resistant to change, especially when it comes to technology. And industry professionals are no exception.

Take, for example, mobile payments. Companies big and small have pushed for years to make mobile transactions a reality, but thus far, those efforts have largely fallen short. Key industry players, merchants and even consumers are still sitting on the fence. And while Apple’s decision to throw its hat into the ring is promising, there’s no guarantee it will stick.

Fortunately, the investing landscape is different. It lends itself to mobile in a way that many finance-related fields do not. And for advisors, traders and other investment professionals, mobile products and services can serve as tools that both accelerate workflows and strengthen relationships with clients.

The Right Information at the Right Time

On-the-go, actionable information is especially pertinent in markets where volatility and split-second decision-making are absolute and inevitable truths. The problem? It’s impossible to be glued to a trade desk, computer or terminal 24 hours a day. Less challenging: keeping tabs on your phone.

But it’s not that simple — yet.

Android still doesn’t have a native app for investing — and while such a solution does exist for iOS, it is by no means complete. Outlets like Bloomberg, CNBC and Yahoo! Finance have moved quickly to fill the void, providing up-to-the-minute market news. Twitter is also an increasingly useful — and incredibly timely — source of investment updates, and new services like StockTwits are making it even more relevant.

Such services are excellent for browsing and staying on the forefront on what can quite literally be split-second developments. However, it is another layer that makes them especially pertinent: push notifications.

Mobile investment and news apps send alerts of the most important, curated news straight to our pockets. And many products also allow users to set specific alerts on prices and major moves. Have a client who wants to buy into Apple only if it dips below the $100 mark? Set the price alert, and you’ll know the second it happens.

Connect to Mobile, Communicate With Clients

There is a new generation of investors out there for whom technology isn’t a supplement to life; it is a pillar. As such, they welcome innovation as part of their investment decisions and strategies — hence the growing popularity of robo-advisors.

Built on the premise that algorithms and automated data analysis have the capacity to breed investment success, platforms like Betterment and Wealthfront have raised millions of dollars in Silicon Valley and developed user bases worth noting. Such platforms compete directly against financial professionals for clients and assets.

In this innovation-driven landscape, advisors must embrace technology as a way to up their game and strengthen relationships with clients.

Hybrid platforms, such as Personal Capital, weave technology into the traditional money management setup to provide objective investment advice.

Other tools and services may simply serve as a way to connect with a client on a different level. Something as simple as recommending a finance app or backing up an investment thesis with technology-driven data can make a notable impact.

Advisors have always used the phone to communicate with clients, but with today’s technologies, the device’s value stretches far beyond calling.

The Puzzle Is Coming Together, But the Pieces Aren’t Yet in Place

Investment professionals have a very real opportunity to leverage technology in their work. Innovation-based tools must be utilized as components of empowerment — not competition.  

The face of investing is changing as we know it, and mobile technologies are affording both Main Street and Wall Street the real-time agility to become more active and engage in the game differently.

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