Mobile apps will boost wealth management sector
An analysis of mobile solutions for financial advisors concludes that applications to support client interaction and advisory services “will become one of the most industry-disruptive, but potentially most rewarding” developments in the wealth management sector.
This is the main finding of Mobile Apps for Financial Advisors and Wealth Managers by Swiss research company MyPrivateBanking Research.
“Existing mobile solutions for financial advisors show the potential for greatly improving the interaction between advisor and client by supplying real-time information, multi-media content and new ways of communication.” said Francis Groves, senior analyst at MyPrivateBanking. “This makes a real difference to client meetings and personal interaction between advisor and client that up until now has mainly been dominated by heaps of paper, often out-dated reports and portfolio data, with discussions of portfolios and performance where little scenario planning was possible.”
The report looked at systems from Advent Black Diamond, Appway, Avaloq, Charles River Development, DST Systems; Finantix, Kony Solutions, MicroStrategy, PolarisFT and SunGard. It found that all demonstrated different aspects of good practice in solution design and four of the solutions were “not only well designed but had particular strengths in certain areas”.
- Appway was commended for “outstanding support in winning new clients and complying with regulations across different jurisdictions”.
- MicroStrategy’s mobile solutions are commended “for their highly customisable offerings with a comprehensive range of functions”. available;
- PolarisFT is singled out for “incorporating excellent design features for financial planning and performance viewing”.
- SunGard’s “focus on smaller wealth management businesses and very good use of mobile visualisation tools” gets it noticed by the report’s authors.
But while each solution has unique strengths and features, “none have yet realised the full potential” of mobile apps. The design of most mobile solutions is still dominated by the legacy of the vendors’ main wealth management platforms, which run on PCs and desktop computers. The “potential for revolutionising advisor/client interactions can often be glimpsed but is not yet fully developed,” says the report.
It sees three particular shortcomings in current offerings:
- While these advisor solutions are generally rich in content and functionality, there is plenty of scope for developing their relevance to client meetings. For instance, six out of 10 vendors provide a comprehensive and detailed portfolio management system and five had good performance reporting capabilities but only four allowed an advisor to produce ad hoc reports.
- Existing solutions “do an excellent job in helping advisors to carry lots of information into meetings but do less well when it comes to meeting dynamics”. Just one of the solutions researched evidenced a well-thought out meeting preparation component.
- Report publishing and client contacting functions are “unnecessarily limited”. None of the solutions covered in the report provided the kind of full and flexible report publishing options, both for standard and ad hoc reports, that we would hope to see available to advisors in client meetings.
MyPrivateBanking stresses that advisor mobile solutions have to bridge the needs of two different categories of user, the advisor or other representative of the wealth management firm and their clients. Consequently they need to handle a level of complexity and a depth of information that is of a completely different order to that required of most consumer apps.
“Mobile solutions for financial advisors need to enable not just single interactions but to help to sustain relationships that can last for many years,” said Groves. “They must normally be capable of a large number of different functions but they also have to perform in a way that doesn’t interfere with advisor being able to establish the all -important sense of connection with the client.”
MyPrivateBanking recommends banks and wealth managers integrate mobile apps solutions in their advisory process and client interaction as soon as possible. In the decision making on which mobile solution to choose they should pay particular attention to identifying the functions required as well as assessing the coverage of markets and operating systems by different vendors. Testing a mobile solution under real-life conditions to assess the benefits for advisors and clients is critically important, as is the need to have a clear grasp of the customizing capabilities of the solution.
MyPrivateBanking analysed the systems against more than 30 functional criteria grouped in 10 categories such as CRM, onboarding financial planning, portfolio management, reporting and client communication (“including, of course the vital area of client meetings”).
It also evaluated characteristics such as third-party system integration potential, regulatory compliance capabilities, security measures, the operating systems supported and vendors’ strategies in terms of building native apps or providing mobile compatible websites.
The full report is available at a cost of €2,700.