A new report by the consulting firm Cogent Reports has found that financial advisors are almost as likely to use a mobile application as they are to access a website through a desktop computer when looking to connect with financial services providers.
The mean number of monthly visits to a website hosted by a “best-in-class provider” was 7.1 compared to 5.8 for a mobile application, the company’s annual “Advisor Touchpoints” report said.
The implication of the findings is that advisors are becoming more mobile, which follows the consumer trend of connecting online through mobile platforms.
“Advisors are looking for similar types of information from both places,” said Sonia Sharigian, senior product manager at Market Strategies and author of the report. Cogent Reports is a division of Market Strategies International, a Michigan-based market research firm.
“These results show provider mobile apps and websites are on the brink of becoming interchangeable,” she added.
Advisors access websites and applications of financial services companies in search of product, economic and marketing information, portfolio analysis tools as well as thought leadership. An increasing number of advisors do this through a mobile phone or a tablet.
“The way advisors Interact with investors is they pull up the iPad and say, ‘Check this out.’ So it has to be fast and efficient and very user friendly,” Sharigian said.
Punctuating the mobile onslaught, Apple on Tuesday announced iPhone sales helped the company dial up a record profit of $18 billion on revenue of $74.6 billion in the first quarter for the three-month period ending Dec. 31.
Apple, which released the iPhone 6 and the larger-screen iPhone 6 Plus in September, sold 74.5 million iPhones in the quarter. Much of the growth in IPhone sales came from China, but even in the Americas iPhone sales surged 23 percent in the first quarter compared to the year-ago period, the company reported.
Demand for personal computers is growing more slowly. Desktop and laptop computers, which access websites through a browser, don’t use apps.
Cogent Reports distilled the information from a Web survey of 463 advisors representing registered investment advisors (RIAs), independent advisors and bank advisors.
The survey found that advisors cited JPMorgan Funds and Vanguard as having a best-in-class app.
But Sharigian also said that while advisors are likely to the access information from a financial services company such as a broker/dealer, an insurer or a mutual fund, 45 percent of advisors surveyed also said they had no best-in-class app.
That is an indication that the “field is wide-open for (financial services) providers who want it,” she said.
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