More financial advisors are using mobile devices than ever before to communicate with mutual funds, insurance carriers, broker/dealers and other financial service distributors. That’s according to a new report by Practical Perspectives, a consultancy based in Boxford, Mass.
But the study also found that while most advisors rely on websites from financial service product providers and distributors, advisor engagement and satisfaction with Web support is lagging.
Howard Schneider, president of Practical Perspectives and author of the 66-page report, said in a news release that advisors are attracted to sites that are simple, easy to navigate and connect easily across a variety of platforms.
But because many advisors still find websites too cluttered, difficult to navigate or packed with outdated or promotional information, advisors limit their visits to a “few trusted providers they are familiar with,” Schneider said.
The sites that advisors prefer are those that offer “broad capabilities, are simple or intuitive to use, and are designed specifically for financial professionals,” he said.
Results of the survey, conducted last month and based on 550 online responses, appear in a report titled “Enhancing the Effectiveness of Financial Advisor Websites and Web Support — Insights and Opportunities 2015.”
Among the survey’s findings:
- 89 percent of financial advisors find product provider website and Web support to be very or somewhat important to their practice.
- More than 60 percent of advisors use smartphones to access product provider websites and more than one in two advisors use a tablet to conduct business.
- 59 percent of advisors typically limit Web support to between two and five different product provider websites.
Younger and more technologically sophisticated financial advisors rely heavily on mobile devices for accessing support. They have a higher engagement with the websites of mutual funds, insurers and broker/dealers, the survey also found.
Schneider said this latest study underscores the importance of designing websites to support advisors who connect through mobile devices as advisors become more familiar with smartphones and tablets.
At trade shows, where laptops were once ubiquitous, advisors are more likely to be carrying a tablet or even a “phablet,” a hardware format that fills the gap between a smartphone and a tablet.
Apple’s latest mobile platform, the smartwatch, is scheduled for release tomorrow.
Advisors singled out the largest asset managers such as American Funds, Blackrock/iShares, Fidelity, Morningstar, Franklin Templeton and Jackson National as having the best websites and Web support functions, the survey found.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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