April 18, 2018

Mobile Advisor Office – how firms can maximize client and advisor engagement

3 min read

Advisors need instant, mobile access to information about their business, as well as their clients. Firms that offer the best mobile solution will gain competitive advantage. They'll enable advisors to be more productive and provide greater client experiences, while attracting top-performing talent. A number of advisors have told me that the quality of a firm’s technology tools influences their decision to join (or leave) a firm.

The client-advisor paradigm has changed in the last few years — the mobile advisor office is now an important consideration for wealth management firms. Companies that get it right stand to deepen advisor and client loyalty.

Wealth management firms investing in mobile advisor technology

Wealth management firms, such as Wells Fargo, Merrill Lynch, RBC Dominion Securities, and Raymond James, have recently made strategic investments in mobile advisor technology. Each firm has launched apps to enable new operating models for advisors – where they spend less time preparing for client meetings, can answer client questions on-the-spot, and are on top of the most important things in their business.

For example, the RBC Advisor’s Virtual Assistant (AVA) for iPhone and Android, is available to all of its advisors in the US and Canada. AVA provides real-time access to client account and portfolio information, and includes a voice-to-text feature so advisors can immediately capture client meeting notes. Raymond James offers a similar service designed for the iPad and iPhone platforms.

At PureFacts, we’re currently working with a leading wealth management firm to develop its advisor mobile platform. As part of the initial implementation, we're building client asset allocation and portfolio performance features.

The horses have bolted through the gate. Are you in the race?

Two reasons why mobile technology is important

  • Advisors want their firms to make it easy to service clients. A firm’s technology support is an important factor in an advisor’s decision to join or leave a firm.
  • Clients are becoming more mobile and time-starved. People are constantly looking at their smart phones, scanning news, reading emails, and sending texts just to stay on top of the barrage of information. Who has time to go see their investment advisor?

Six key ways to maximize advisor engagement with your mobile app

Before committing budget and resources to an advisor mobility platform, I recommend that wealth management firms have a well-articulated strategy. To maximize return on your investment, it’s critical to complete a thorough analysis. Developing the right strategy will also help position your firm for market share growth.

Consider these steps before starting development:

  • Research Canadian and U.S. fintech markets. Evaluate what your competitors are doing and identify the key features to include in your mobile advisor office. Do your review across the wealth management spectrum — from traditional firms to robo-advisors.
  • Consider using an 80/20 approach and start small – get value to advisors fast. Include in your platform the information used in 80% of off-site client meetings. Leave the remaining 20% of the information back at the office. That 20% can be the most expensive to build. There’s no need to jeopardize your implementation schedules and ROI by trying to build in rarely needed information.
  • Get advisors actively involved from the beginning. Consider setting up a use-case committee and invite a few advisors to join in. Show them the market intelligence and solution features you have found and get their input. Ensure that your platform addresses their stated needs and it will generate buy-in throughout the firm.
  • Identify the key information advisors need for client discussions held outside the office. They’ll work with you to define the features they need and will appreciate why other features may not make the cut. Make it their platform. A sense of propriety goes a long way.
  • Develop features best suited to the device. Phones, for example are not ideal for presenting client information, particularly considering how many clients and advisors wear glasses. Tablets, however, offer much more space for features such as charts, graphs and dynamic rendering. Generally, smartphones will have less features and data than tablets. It’s critical to select the design elements and amount of information to provide on each device.
  • Consider the security, complexity and build costs before completing your business case. This will help you decide whether to implement in stages or all at once on the phone and tablet platforms.

Ultimately, by tailoring features to your advisors’ mobile needs, you’ll increase advisor engagement and maximize your ROI. Want to know more? Contact us and ask how PureFacts can help you.