A Closer Look at Retirement Mobile

by on Mar 18, 2013

iphone ipad androidWhen it comes to mobile, Retirement plan providers have quietly been playing catch up. 61% of the firms tracked by our Retirement Plan Monitor research service now offer a mobile app. Among these firms, 85% offer iPhone apps while 54% offer Android apps. Despite the recent uptick in mobile development, only two of the 18 firms covered by Retirement Plan Monitor make iPad apps available.

Retirement Mobile App Features
Currently, the main function of retirement apps is viewing account information on-the-go. All of the apps (and mobile sites) reviewed in our recent Retirement Plan Monitor Mobile Apps report displayed an account balance, while 43% also listed a vested balance. Providers successfully illustrated this data, with 54% depicting it through a balance graph. Additionally, roughly 70% of apps featured a list of the securities in which an account is currently invested and/or at least one rate-of-return figure.

chart app

The apps also allow participants to perform investment research.  Nearly half of the firms we reviewed incorporate custom retirement projection functionalities into their apps while 31% link to educational articles and commentaries. Two of the apps also offer access to the firm’s podcasts. The apps offered by retirement plan providers lack transactional capabilities

Vanguard iPhone App – Podcasts
Vanguard iPhone App – Podcasts

Closing Thoughts
Looking forward, we expect to see greater development of tablet apps and more sites optimized specifically for the iPad. We also expect firms to unveil transaction capabilities, allowing participants to rebalance a portfolio or increase contributions from their mobile device.