By André Guillemin
Mobile financial applications are redefining the way financial planners do their jobs by enabling them to operate from any location, using only a mobile device. No laptops. No pagers. No searching for wireless hotspots.
How It Works
Top-of-the-line mobile financial software aggregates data from different IT systems to provide access to all of your client and account information-along with market data, stock quotes and news-no matter where that information lives or what software you use at the office.
Also, it is designed to meet the needs of financial professionals who operate in client-facing positions, so it is built specifically for mobile devices and uses the phone's best functions, like messaging, calling and mapping.
What that means is that a mobile application on your BlackBerry, iPhone or Windows Mobile device allows you to see your client's information as well as communicate with them. You are no longer flying blind when you reach out to a client from outside the office.
Why It's Important
Stiff competition for consumers' time and trust combined with volatile financial markets has made it increasingly difficult for financial planners to prove their value. Like never before, financial planners are challenged to outperform the competition, tighten client relationships, assure perfect service and generate new accounts. All this requires an intense focus on client-facing activities.
In volatile times, it is tempting to stay in the office, hold down the fort and man the phones. Twenty years ago, that was a good strategy, because it was the only way an adviser could be there for his or her clients in stressful times. But in today's world, planners can have their cake and eat it too. They can get out into their communities and meet with their clients face-to-face while being available to receive or return calls.
In addition to connecting financial planners to their data, mobile technology provides features and functions that save time and help users keep track of the details that bombard them on a daily basis. A game-changing capability of mobile financial applications is that advisers can use alerts to help them reach out to clients in ways that are timely and appropriate. Alerts can be set to notify advisers of virtually anything, including substantial changes in asset allocation, new industry research or events, changes in securities ratings and upcoming deadlines. Reminders can also be set for client information like birthdays and anniversaries, or planning processes such as quarterly and annual reviews.
Where sales and prospecting are concerned, financial planners can quickly perform simple activities that keep the sales process moving forward, like sending sales literature, providing an immediate quote or answering a detailed question. Mobility breaks down information barriers and helps people buy when they are ready to buy, not "later, when my assistant gets back to me" or "after I pick up that document at the office." Without losing momentum, the adviser can say, "Great! Let's move forward."
One of the issues that always comes into play when "finance" and "mobility" are used in the same sentence is security. Contrary to public perception, mobile devices are very secure, and there are a number of things that software companies can do to enhance the basic security functions built into the devices themselves. One of the major ways they can do it is by using real-time data systems so that no data is actually stored on the device. Everything is transmitted over the air-so if you misplace your smart phone, there is no data on it to steal.
Although it may seem scary to be carrying around a device that connects you to sensitive client information, it is actually a very safe way to go. Surely, a BlackBerry that is fully encrypted and password-protected is a thousand times safer than carrying hard copies of client statements around in your briefcase.
As mobile devices take over the market, the use of mobile financial software is increasing exponentially and will continue to do so. Faster networks and more intuitive devices will only fuel that trend, and advisers who embrace mobile technology will see changes in the way they run their practices that enhance customer service and productivity.
André Guillemin is the senior manager of market development at Pyxis Mobile Inc. He is a specialist in mobile technology, specifically in applications for the financial services industry. Prior to Pyxis Mobile, Guillemin worked as a financial adviser at Smith Barney. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tools to Use
Read the Pyxis Mobile white paper series on technologies for wealth management at www.pyxismobile.com/applications or call (800) 705-1883.